That was us five years ago. Seems a bit like a lifetime and only yesterday. This was an odd, unknown season for us. Not sure where we were going next or if we were even going anywhere at all. Life felt a bit like a tilt-a-whirl of emotion. What I know now that I couldn’t know then was God was preparing a season of rest and rejuvenation for us. The year following this one was joyful and full, one where we exhaled the breath we didn’t even realize we had been holding. Friendships grew, roots dug deeper, and we were loved and released well into the very next season. But we couldn’t have made it to the rest, felt the rejuvenation, experienced the deep without first walking through the odd and unknown.
This was the only Easter we spent at home with our families in our 19 years together. Likely, this will be the only Easter we will spend sheltering-in-place during a global pandemic.
This is a new odd and unknown with no way of knowing what is next in this tilt-a-whirl season.
But when I look at the photos, I don’t see the odd and the unknown. I see Dad and remember how God miraculously healed him in 1989 before He welcomed him home thirty years later. My nephew is there and I remember how sick my SIL was when he was born and those long, hard days of seeing him in the NICU. My gorgeous Mom loving every second, a mighty warrior in prayer who has fought her entire life to love everyone around her fiercely. And my miracle babies clothed in years of prayers from friends, family, and even strangers we may only meet in heaven.
This week, Holy Week, the tilt-a-whirl of unknown feels more real than ever.
Confusion and grief and what-in-the-world-will-be-next Friday’s string together into one quiet, dark Saturday after another. But there’s a peace and comfort in that too. Holy Week makes space for that tension in us. We become aware of how much we have been holding our breath. How much we relied on the comfort of every day, ordinary, going-to-work, packing-backpacks, cheering-on-our-kids lives. And how little control we ever had in any of that.
For Holy Week this year, I want to sit in the tension of right now and not yet. Drink in what maybe I’ve been avoiding in all this. Make peace with the odd and pull up a chair for the unknown. I have no way of knowing what’s next. Maybe it’ll be rest. Maybe it’ll be loss. But I know it’s okay to not know, it’s okay to acknowledge the tilt-a-whirl and it’s okay to not be okay.
Maybe you too need permission to sit down this week.
Give that to yourself. Take the time you need to move with Jesus through the Hosanna’s of today on Palm Sunday to the betrayal at Supper. To the pleading and crying in the garden. And right up the hill to Jesus’ cross. Lay down underneath it, in His shadow, and let the grief of the unknown and odd simply be with you.
One day, we will move out of this season of the unknown and odd and we’ll enter a new one that might feel equally as strange. One where we re-enter the world. Go back to our going-to-work, packing-back-packs, cheering-our-kids-on every day, ordinary lives. But if we don’t allow ourselves to be in the tension of this season, to fully embrace whatever it is God needs to do in us and around us during these days, we might miss the rest and rejuvenation coming.
I want to look back on the photos of Easter 2020 and see all we didn’t even know God was walking us towards. Just like I do in the Easter photos of 2015.