We have just arrived home from our Easter celebration in Massachusetts with my family. The boys are all neatly tucked into bed and Kevin is out harvesting sap from our maple trees as our buckets are overflowing from two days of sap runs in our absence.
Lent ended last week. It is that time of preparation for our hearts where we either give up the things that are keeping us from getting closer to God or we take on things that will help us grow closer to him. I chose to get out for a walk each day and be kinder to my husband. The first gave me precious time for my soul so I could be more successful with the 2nd. I hope to continue with both far beyond Lent.
You could feel the tensions build in the readings this Holy Week. There was Palm Sunday when Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem as a king (shortly after raising Lazarus a good friend of his from the dead), to the lead up to Holy Thursday where Jesus celebrates the Last Supper with his apostles which ends with one of them turning him over to the authorities. Then his apostles all flee in fear as Jesus is tortured and humiliated, and on Good Friday Jesus is horrifically crucified on a cross.
Holy Saturday is spent in stunned silence as his followers hide in fear and mourn the death of their hope, and then today… some of his followers go to his tomb to pray and find it empty. What has happened? Where did he go? Was he stolen? Those questions are not immediately answered, not until later in the day and then over the next 40 days as Jesus appears to his followers over and over again and the truth is unmistakable. He Is Risen.
How often are we in stunned silence in the moment? Disoriented, fearful? Just like the apostles on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. They couldn’t make sense of what was going on. He was supposed to be their king, to lead them to freedom.
I see a lot of myself in the apostles. I often say in my heart “Jesus l give you all of me, do with me what you want.” and I mean it when I say it, but then things get tough and I am disoriented in my heart and end up saying to him “Oh, no you didn’t mean THAT though did you? That is too hard!”.
How could Jesus’ brutal humiliation on the cross or my –fill in the blank with any thing I don’t want to do– be part of the PLAN???
It’s not supposed to be easy, this life. If it doesn’t make us cringe a little, if we aren’t giving up something, then we cannot be transformed. Jesus knew this so well. He gave us his all to free us from the parts of ourselves that we tend to cling to, the parts he sees keeping us back.
Jesus sees how very beautiful we are. He can look beyond all our little and big sins to our potential. The potential each and every one of us has. He’s got a plan that he revises each moment of our lives. We can help him complete it if we decide to look to him and listen. To listen even when it means carrying his cross for a mile or two or three…
…We thought this sugaring season was a bust a few weeks ago. With no snow on the ground to keep our perishable sap from spoiling we have to boil each run of sap as it comes in. That was ok when we were thinking it was a short season and the warm weather would make the buds on the trees open and it would be over soon as the sap wouldn’t be good for sugaring anymore. Then you just pull the taps out of the trees, wash out and put away the containers, lines, and pans.
Well that hasn’t been the story. So far we’ve made 7 gallons of syrup from about 280 gallons of sap. It has been our biggest yield since we’ve been sugaring. That has meant some long nights in the sugar shack, a whole lot of persistence, and even a little faith.
Sugaring seasons on average are about 4 weeks long and by the end we are often tired and yes we have been known to waste some sap instead of boil it at the end because we just felt spent.
So far we are keeping on keeping on. We’ll see how the season turns out and if we boil every last drop of sap (you know we’ll kick ourselves in the summer if we don’t do it now when the getting is good).
I know making maple syrup for 4 weeks is hardly a great cross to carry, but it is where our family is at right in this very moment, THIS Easter.
Leaning into the collecting, the boiling, the feeding the fire, the waiting, all while carrying on with all the other aspects of our busy lives… Four weeks of persistence rewarded with gallons and gallons of sweetness.
Who doesn’t want gallons and gallons of sweetness?
We are ALL Easter people, we are made truly alive by the challenges we face. I don’t know about you, but I want to see what plan Jesus has for me and the goodness that I can’t even comprehend. Oh God give me faith and persistence and yes, gallons and gallons of sweetness!!
Happy Easter Everyone!!
HE IS RISEN, Alleluia, Alleluia!!