Except during Lent.
During Lent, I don't wear a cross. That's been my heretofore private Lenten ritual for a long time. A cross necklace isn't just an ornament to me, it really is a statement of my faith. Sometimes it's a reminder of how far away from my faith I feel.
The past year and a half has taken a toll on me, the full extent of which I sometimes don't realize until it catches up with me at unexpected times. Those who know me know the trials, so I won't belabor them here. We all have them - nothing about mine sets me apart from most anybody else, that's to be sure.
During all these months, holding on to my faith has been hard. I've wrestled with the angels -- sometimes to make them hold on to me, sometimes to make them let go of me. I have the bruises on my soul to testify.
But today is Easter and like a moth to the Flame, I took off the decorative necklace I've been wearing for 40 days and I put this one on its stead.
This was one of my Mama's. I wore it the day I got married, and when Henry and I had been married for 25 years she gave it to me outright. It was purchased for her from an antique jewelry dealer, so I have no idea how old or fine it might be. I don't wear it often - the little chain of tiny pearls is fragile, and I don't want to risk breaking it. I've made a tradition of wearing it on Easter Sunday mornings since it was given to me, and so I did today.
I had expected this day to be full of tears. Even now, our family is in a state of flux. My father had to be hospitalized just over a week ago, and was released from there into rehab, and will move this week to Angels for the Elderly, a residential home for those dealing with dementia and Alzheimers' disease. My siblings and I have cared for him, all day and night, every day and night, since Mama's death, and going through this transition has been very difficult for him and for us.
Our preacher's sermon was so powerful, so much what I needed to hear during this period of deep drought. He reminded us that Easter calls us by name, puts aside the sadness, casts away the darkness, and calls us home to the joy of the Resurrection. Thank you, Dr. Bryan. The right words at the right time may have really helped this spirit to begin its real healing now, and although I teared up a little during the Hallelujah Chorus, had a "moment" when I got home through which my husband sustained me, I am now counting all my blessings again with genuine gratitude.
My friends, who have walked beside me every step of this journey.
My sister, brothers, and their spouses who, with us, continue to walk through these days with honesty, and respect, and humor, and tenacity.
My children, who are remarkable, somehow, and who make me proud -- and a little awed -- to be their Mama.
My Daddy, whose gentleness and humor - and occasional obstinacy -- continue to remind us who really is
And little girls in white dresses, who take their own Daddy's hand and walk with him to find what joy the day ahead holds for them.
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.