I know I am a few days behind writing about Easter, but, well…life has been crazy. Allergies have not helped.
A box came yesterday, though, and brought together some of my thoughts. Do you remember when I spoke of the Power of the Sugar Cookie? Well, this box was similar.
Dad has moved into a new house with Mom. They moved from a two story house into a one story, mainly to guard against falls and trips. The result is also that they have to simplify life. Moves will do that.
Boxes must be gone through. Years of treasures must be sorted. Mom was a collector. Yes, I’m being kind.
I know that this is not an easy process for Dad, because it is taking a giant highlighter and marking the decay that has happened over the last 5 years. She has no connection to these treasures…and she would have considered them just that. She no longer is possessive of them, when she would have been just a few years ago. She would have guarded them even if she couldn’t quite pinpoint why she needed them. Now she lets them go more easily, because there is no connection.
I hate that.
I received an enormous box of scarves. Another with purses. Another box with white china cups and plates she used when her Bible study ladies came over. Boxes that come with little glimpses of her personality.
Mom dressed impeccably. She was, and still is really, gorgeous. Tall and stately. Stylish. Her scarves show how she could pull off all kinds of colors and styles.
She was bold.
Her purses? All kinds. She was full of life.
Now Dad dresses her and always makes sure she looks just right when she goes out. He makes sure she looks how he knows she would have wanted to look.
The last box that came, though…it was such a stark reminder of who she was.
A box of stickers. Hundreds of stickers.
I remembered them, and anyone who had known my Mom would have remembered them. They were attached to birthday cards and notes and letters. They were bought with purpose and with thought about each person. And I realized how much Maddie would have been loved by her.
I realized these stickers would have come attached to birthday cards and notes to the little girl who carries her name. Jane. Madeleine Jane. I can almost picture the notes she would have sent, and the delight she would have had in sending little gifts of coloring books and goodies.
What does this have to do with Easter?
Watching Mom slowly fade before our eyes, watching her personality change from vibrant colors and bold choices, to greys as she loses more and more of herself…leaves me hungry and aching for healing. Aching for home.
Easter was a wonderful celebration. Wonderful music. Wonderful fellowship. Fun decorating eggs. If that was all it was, though…there is little hope in the mourning as we watch the brokenness around us. We need more than some pep talk.
“For Paul the Resurrection was no metaphor; it was the power of God. And when he spoke of Jesus as raised from the dead, he meant Jesus alive and at large in the world not as some shimmering ideal of human goodness or the achieving power of hopeful thought but as the very power of life itself. If the life that was in Jesus died on the cross; if the love that was in him came to an end when his heart stopped beating; if the truth that he spoke was no more if no less timeless than the great truths of any time; if all that he had in him to give to the world was a little glimmer of light to make bearable the inexorable approach of endless night – then all was despair.”
Opening these boxes and finding each new piece as Dad sorts through Mom’s life, it is another statement of her fading. Another statement that she is a little farther from our grasp. She is physically in our midst, but we continue in this strange limbo of her presence without her personality. I know that I am more of a spectator living a thousand miles from home…and I continue to be amazed at how my Dad cares for her with such strength and kindness.
Easter tells us there is more, and that the suffering now will seem as only momentary when we reach home. Easter tells us Good Friday has power.
It doesn’t make it light and easy, but there is a foundation to stand upon. There is a strength to be held, and we do not despair. We hope.
I believe in the holy shores of uncreated light
I believe there is power in the blood
And all of the death that ever was,
If you set it next to life
I believe it would barely fill a cup
‘Cause I believe there’s power in the blood ”
– Andrew Peterson
Because of that hope, because that life overcomes death, we are able to live with a joy and a wonder even in the midst of grey and suffering. Even in the midst of sorrow. Because of a Savior who conquered death, because of an Easter that is a reality, I can take a box that signifies the decaying of a mind…and turn it into a celebration of life.
These things continue to carry her personality, and although they are just things, they are little glimpses of this woman who helped form who I am. And even though she cannot delight in Maddie…I can delight in Maddie for her. Part of that is watching Maddie enjoy these things that were part of Mom’s life. Like having coffee and crackers on white china, and wrapping up that hair in scarves from the 70’s.
Resurrection life. The reality of Easter…the Power of Easter, gives us the freedom to embrace this life even in its painful moments, because we hold on lightly to this life. Our true home is one where no tear will fall and no mind will decay.