Last month, I played matron of honor at my youngest sister’s wedding. I cried, I laughed, I toasted and danced. Then, within 6 days of that, I said goodbye to my grandmother. I kissed her hands, and wrote an obituary.
What I want out of life is for it to come in ones. One event, one emotion, one holistic experience. But that doesn’t happen. Life comes in exponents instead– joy, sadness, hope, grief, relief, anxiety, all of it, multiplied on itself.
Not one, all. Everything, at once.
So we’re reeling and celebrating. We’re going through all the emotions because that is what this season calls for. I am buoyed by my sister’s marriage to my new brother, who is truly a brother. And I am grieved that my memories of my grandparents are now dead-ends, one-way roads that come up empty.
It is everything, at once, multiplied.
The day after Nonna passed, I was sitting in church, and we’re sitting there, watching everyone nod along to the words of forgiveness and grace, as if this wasn’t earth shattering stuff. As if these were polite platitudes, common banalities.
Annie Dillard said, “Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with chemistry sets, mixing up batches of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews.”
I don’t need passive nodding along on weeks like this, I need wailing and amen-ing and rejoicing and laughing. Because we’re on this raft, and the waves are high and the sun is also bright, and I just need a life preserver here. Lest we forget that we are in the house of God, and there is hope here that is real and alive and so-greatly-needed
Give me a dang life preserver, and please, while you’re at it, get one for yourself too. I think you’re going to need it.