After a characteristically intense Holy Week (Eastern Orthodox Easter is today—Christ is Risen!) and a late night/early morning long Paschal service (it was nearly 4 am by the time Jonah and I went to bed), I am happily, if somewhat foggily, enjoying a very Bright Day of rest.
I’m rather basking in the day. My impressions of the week, and particularly last night, fade in and out like satellites. When I try to focus on one in particular, it goes fuzzy and disappears. But there, I catch it again on the periphery. By suppressing my focus it reappears. One is material, another just a sense. Something that was leading me somewhere. If I am still, maybe I will be able to catch on again and follow.
Jonah’s head on my lap, my hand shielding his eyes so that he could fall asleep as the priest shouted “Xristos voskres!” and the people around us shouted back, “Voistinu voskres!”
The woman’s hair catching on fire while we stood outside, inching forward toward the open doors of the Church. Her son’s large hands smothering the flame. The distinct smell of hair on fire. The strangeness of hardly anyone noticing.
The bells. Jonah clamping his hands over his ears, pressing hard. Excited, over-stimulated, and asleep on his feet.
Sophie and Lucy having simultaneous chasing dreams, their erratic breathing and dream barks, all eight paws sleep running.
“We bow the necks of our souls…” from the Bridegroom Service.
Meeting the woman we often stand next to for the first time at Pascha. J was asleep, there was no G, so it was finally possible. Her name is Debbie. She lives in Fairlawn. She’s gone to St. Nicholas her entire life.
Hearing Jonah say “Indeed He Is Risen.”
Jonah’s utter amazement at the midnight service. “You mean, these people do this Every year? It’s crazy! They walk around the building in the dark! I’m shivering all over.”
The abdominal cramps that started at the very first of the 12 Gospel readings at the Thursday night service. If you’ve never been to this service, well, they call it the 12 Gospels for a reason. Every ounce of Gospel scripture dealing with the crucifixion and resurrection as well as the Sermon on the Mount are chanted, interspersed with many hymns and prayers. I almost fainted. I broke out in a complete body sweat. I stumbled to the cry room to recover and made it back in by about the 5th gospel. I was asked: “Are you having a heart attack?” and “Are you pregnant?” I’m not sure which terrified me more.
Seeing just one set of lights pass me on a six lane highway on our way back from the Pascha service at about 3 :15 a.m. The world at 3 a.m. feels like an entirely different place, eerily so. I thought about what it would have been like to travel through the area where I live in the dead of night with no streets, no streetlights, no cars, no civilization as we have come to know it. How people must have longed for any sighting of human life. A home lit up from the inside. Other bodies. Technology seems like a warm thing: the lights, the heat, the possibilities of communication and commerce and resources. But as we like to say around the Estes homestead (talking about you G), it’s a tool. Not a replacement. Not that any of us would consciously think of it so, but I certainly think we act as if it were, without thinking. No doubt it’s easier to live with your phone than the person in your bed.
Waking up humming a version of the “Christ is risen from the dead / trampling down death by death / and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.” Hearing Jonah hum it unconsciously.
Stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts at 3 a.m. to get Jonah a classic glazed. I don’t think they see a lot of 7 year olds at 3 a.m.
The wonder that my priest asked, “No Gabriel?” How many times has G interrupted his homily? And I’m not even counting the fire alarm incident.
That Holy Week was the week that G finally got his shit together. Literally. Thank you Gabriel Keats for finding your way around that fear-of-pooping-in-the-toilet-thing. And no, mama is not going to continue to give you a lollipop every time you do.