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.