i wonder why – musing on Easter Day afternoon

For the first time in over 40 years, I wasn’t in, at, with the church, the gathered community, on Easter Day. An inveterate, zealous observer of time (believing it to be a useful tool, really, a gift of necessity aiding my being who I am and being where I intend to be and when), I was dressed and heading toward the door. A step away from crossing the threshold, I stopped. Something clicked or didn’t click.

This afternoon, I’ve given time to reflection. I wonder why.

As human, I believe that I am (dare I think each of us is?) an “iceberg” with my unconscious, that ever present “underwater”, under the surface realm of my unknowing, being the larger part of my self. Hence, as the Apostle Paul’s observation, “now we see in a mirror, dimly,” applies, there is much that I do not, cannot know about my motivation or, in this instant case, demotivation.

Still, I wonder why.

The obvious reason is that I am retired clergy. This was my first Easter Day when I didn’t have to be in, at, with the church. I was free to be “off the clock.”

But that’s not it. Of all the aspects of ministry, worshiping (truly, being) with the community is one of my chiefest joys. I thrill at the sight of the people gathered. The sound of many voices raised in song and prayer. The rhythm of the liturgy, both ancient in origin and form and, in the actualized moment of day and time, made modern through the real-time participation of flesh-and-blood folk.

Yet, as my mind and heart continue to circle, like a moth to flame, around the reality of my retirement, I think I see the proverbial and virtual light of self-understanding.

This was my first Easter Day that I had no hand in planning (also a chiefest joy!) – dreaming and designing, crafting and carrying out – the liturgy, from the Greek, leit ‘ourgia, “the work of the people.” And I missed it. Truth to tell, I missed, lost a part of me that matters. And in that loss, grieving that loss, I chose, perhaps unconsciously, but no less intentionally, to be alone today.

I trust that I shall adjust; finding again my bearings, my being. But for now, and at the least, having discovered, as I oft do, what I am thinking and feeling, indeed, where and who I am once I’ve said or written it, I no longer wonder why.

4 thoughts on “i wonder why – musing on Easter Day afternoon

  1. I wondered what today would be like for you. How you’d be and feel. I wonder no more, as you articulated it well. I totally get your desire to be alone today, to grieve the loss of the vocation you’ve had for two-thirds of your life. I pray you give yourself the time and space to find new avenues that will become your “chiefest joys” of the future. AND I’m guessing that you’re not quite YET done in the pulpit either…. and when you do step into the pulpit of other churches those who get to witness you and hear your powerful words may experience one of their “chiefest joys”. Much love and peace to you my dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad you gave yourself permission to heed what you felt or sensed within. Perhaps, this was the worship that both you and God required this Easter: honoring that holy place where God dwells in you, stirring you to reflect on all that has been, grieving and rejoicing over it so that the new might take root in fertile ground. You are in my prayers.


  3. Thank you, Caroline, I appreciate you and your godly counsel. I especially take to heart, “honoring…stirring…grieving and rejoicing…that the new might take root in fertile ground.” Your words evoke in me an immediate reflection on Jeremiah 1.10, in the sense that oft, it seems, before building and planting, thus new growth (“what will be”) can occur, something (in this, my case, the old, the “what was”) need be plucked and broken down. I also find solace in your testimony that fertility of soil for planting is the fruit (pun intended!) of that process of grief, etc. Thank you, my dear sister, for this, as an old preacher used to say, “enabling word.” Much love


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