Updated: Jan 20, 2021
A pretty ordinary day today. Went to church ~ preached, actually ~ and witnessed 3 baptisms, served the Eucharist to about 100 people, and came home exhausted afterwards to watch some basketball on TV. Then went to my aunt’s and uncle’s to celebrate my birthday. Big 47. We ate 7-layer dip, drank some wine and sparkling cider, ate some tasty chicken, blew the candles out atop a chocolate cake, opened some presents, told old worn-out stories to each other that we’ve heard a million times, then piled in the car to come back home. My wife jumped in the shower with our baby boy, then with our daughter, while I got the birds in, fed the dog, and put away the day’s detritus. Then put my son to bed, gave my daughter her nightly hug, and listened to my wife fall asleep with our little girl after reading her a story and lying quietly next to her.
An ordinary day.
A pretty extraordinary day today. Gathered with God’s people to worship, in fits and starts, for much the same way God has been worshiped for 600 years, and 1400 years before that. Smart doctors, successful lawyers, rich financiers, and long-suffering grandparents all joined in the ruckus, listened to God’s Word broken over the Road to Emmaus story, witnessed the life-changing event of three young lives being committed to the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and prayed to the air expecting a God to overhear our mumblings. Ate the body and blood of the One called Savior, not once but twice ~ and served it, too, on a platter dripping with meaning we’ll never understand.
Saw my wife watching me from the back of the sanctuary and wondered what she thought of this man, her husband, up there talking about the inevitability of doubt on the road to faith. Found myself knee-deep in symbolism, felt myself thick in the pull of ancient truths, and saw ordinary people in over their collective heads in the midst of it with me. Then came home in a dizzying spell of existential fatigue, took my own short walk to my Emmaus, then just as quickly rejoined the world in the blood-soaked, heart-rending, humor-filled, time-honored tradition of a family get-together where more wounds have been inflicted and more love suffered together than you can possibly imagine. Then came home to grow old with my family another day, to wash each other, feed each other, hold each other, speak to each other in quick staccato bursts ~ to love each other, in other words, on a day none of us will remember two weeks–much less ten years–from now, and yet it will be precisely because of days like this that we will sob uncontrollably at each others’ many deaths and try to catch that last, dying scent we call love-and-time when they’re rolled up together in an indistinguishable heap of being-ness. And then my house grew silent as my loves each fell asleep, one by one . . .
surrendering to the night whatever silences the day had brought. And I found myself alone again, just as I’d awoken, but this time alone with more questions than before.
And a day’s more love. And joy and sadness. An extraordinary day.