have you ever had a day without warning? one of those days where, at the end of the day, you think to yourself, “man… i really didn’t expect today to go like that…” one of those days that leaves you wrung out and exhausted, either with a smile on your face or a few new grey hairs?
that was my easter. you know, it’s the most important holiday of the christian calendar. on that day, we don’t celebrate the birth or death of the central figure of our religion. islam, buddhism, judaism… lots of religions have that kind of holiday. on easter we celebrate the resurrection of our central figure. we celebrate that death could not hold our savior. that’s a pretty big deal, ya know? i mean, it’s the whole point of this religion.
even so, easter is not usually a terribly emotional day for most people. you go to church (dressed to the nines if you’re so inclined), you sing songs of celebration, you go home and have a big meal with your family… maybe search for eggs if you’ve got little ones. it’s a day of smiles, sure… but rarely do people think of it as a time of strong emotion and deep thought.
for some reason, this easter was a roller-coaster for me. a day without warning.
i didn’t get to go home and be with my family this year because i was running sound for my church. i didn’t really mind. i usually enjoy doing sound even if i do gripe about it from time to time. this sunday was a doozy for sound too. every once in a while T, the worship leader, likes to throw a 7 or 8 piece band at me. i won’t get into details because they are boring unless you are an audio nerd like myself, but there were feedback issues galore and it was rough. somehow, though… somehow in the middle of all the frustration and noise, i found worship. somehow, without warning, i found myself worshiping. it was magnificent. lately, i’ve found myself so focused on the mechanics of the worship service that i forget to actually worship. this past sunday, i was struck down by worship and i remembered what it was all for and what it felt like and how to worship my God. that was good.
then, as i’m working the sound board, some folks that i don’t know brought me communion. i should mention that, lately, i feel like a stranger in my own church. many of the people that i came to know when i started going to mosaic have left and, because i’m often stuck behind the soundboard on sundays, i haven’t had a chance to really get to know anyone. my church is also of the “there are several stations with communion elements on them. go to them when you are ready” school of communion. nobody serves it to you where you are… you go to it. to be served communion from the hands of caring strangers without warning struck me straight to the bone. such a simple gesture… a piece of bread, a cup of juice and a smile… but it got me. i found myself praying, “God. i’m sorry… i’ve taken You for granted. iv’e forgotten to worship You. i’ve forgotten HOW to worship you. i’ve lost sight of the point. with this bread and cup, i take You back into me… i remember what You’ve done. You broke death for me. You broke yourself for me. You broke ME for me… thank You. thank You. thank You…” without warning, i found myself back where i needed to be. broken and mending. learning and forgetting. cut down and growing.
you know, when you can’t be with family for the holidays, you should do the next best thing – be with friends that are as close as family. i was lucky enough to spend the afternoon and evening with jeff, the mick, and fat andy. though i share no genetic material with them, these guys are my brothers. easter afternoon was spent at andy’s mother’s home. she invited me over for easter dinner. i’m so glad that she did because, as we were sitting there talking about family, i got a call from my mom.
she was in tears.
she was also in the emergency room. my father had had a heart attack.
and, without warning, i was struck to the heart again. this time with fear. intense, paralyzing fear. i’m afraid that i turned into robot chris… “thank you for calling me. is he ok for now? ok. call me when you know more. i love you. tell dad that i love him. ok, bye.” and then i hung up, sat down and had a little silent freak-out. now, i don’t do fear very well because i rarely experience it. trust is easy for me for some reason, so fear rarely enters into my life. this got me, though. just writing this now, i’m fighting back tears and a little bit of panic. i’m so grateful that i was with andy and his mother at the time. the hugs and the instant, almost reflexive prayer centered me. i don’t know how i would have handled the news had i been at home by myself. not well, i can tell you.
after about fifteen minutes or so, when i had collected myself and given mom time to call who she needed to call, i called her back. she apparently had also had time to collect herself and she sounded much better. as i was talking to her, i heard in the background, “who’s that? is that chris? let me talk to him.” and my mom handed the phone to my dad, who did not say, “hello” or “hey, son”… no, my father, in true dumoulin fashion said, “i’m FINE. this has happened before, it’s not a big deal. i’m alright.” and without warning, i was flooded with relief. that sounded like dad. he really was fine. when it had happened before, he’d just ignored it until it went away. this time it didn’t go away, so he “thought he ought to get it looked at.” stubborn fool should have got it looked at when his chest first started to hurt. but that’s my dad. and, as jeff was so kind to point out, that’s me too. i understand that… that’s familiar.
they didn’t keep him over night, but he’s going in for a battery of tests this morning to determine next steps and figure out what caused the issue and what’s causing the continued irregularity in his heartbeat.
i have no conclusion beyond this: easter was an emotional day. a day without warning. in good ways and bad – with ups and downs and sideways. i didn’t sleep well last night… i feel all wrung out today. nobody ask me to feel strongly about anything today, ok? i don’t have it in me. at best you’ll get lukewarm empathy. that’s all i’ve got. that and this question: when you look back on your life and the things and events that make up who you are so far, how many of those events are days without warning? it seems like, for good or bad, there are a lot of these along my journey to who i’m becoming. and i honestly hope that they keep coming so that i can keep growing.
but i’d sure like some more days where i’m happily surprised…
have you heard of nakedpastor? you should read his blog… he’s really intriguing. what? no, he’s not actually naked. well, not more often than the rest of us are, i’m sure. but he is extremely open and transparent about his thoughts and feelings and activities. i find his writing very interesting.
i want to encourage you to read today’s post by him… here’s an exerpt:
“But in order for love to determine the nature of our relationship and to actually maintain it, we hold our opinions lightly and are honestly open for change. This is the only way community can work. Conformity against one’s intelligence or will does not community make.”
sometimes his writing is full of pain and anguish and insecurity as well. like i said – transparent. he doesn’t pretend like he’s got it all together. he doesn’t pretend to be “strong.” he’s just him and he’s honest about his life. for example, take this cartoon he drew:
what would it look like if we were all so transparent about our struggles? i try with this blog to be so… but lately, i am not as open to writing about all the stuff in my head as i used to be. i apologize for that. i’m going to make an effort to write here more often. not that you care, really… i just feel better when i can get it out like this.
anyway, go read nakedpastor. even if you don’t agree with him, be encouraged to grow in whatever ways that you need.
so i met jeff’s girl tonight. she’s in town from dallas for crs this week and she’s an opinionated, snarky, sharp-tongued, jealous little slip of a woman…
and i absolutely love her.
understand this: jeff is like a brother to me. i really do honestly care about who he dates, because i’ll be pissed if the guy gets broken and bitter because of a woman again. and don’t get me wrong, i have my reservations about this one… she’s awfully jealous… she’s got her reasons, i understand, but still… if it were me, danger sirens would be going off. i’ve joked before, though, that that’s exactly what it might take to get this kid back out of the dating pool.
overall… i totally approve. she held her own against myself, evan and fat andy… and, though we kept it civil, we didn’t hold back too much. she’s alright in my book. more than alright… she’s a winner. the jealousy thing is a little freaky to me, but hey… i’ve been known to like my women with a strong pinch of crazy.
she may even be one of them filou women… watch out jeff, those are the ones that’ll tie your heart in knots just for the trill of it!
enjoy every moment of it, brother.