It was January when we decided we would write letters on New Seasons. The branches then were cold gray and like wide-open fingers allowing everything to slip through: the wind, the engines, the peek at neighbors’ piled-up yards. We knew spring would come and cover us again. It would fill out with yellow forsythia along the driveway and lie to us of what’s beyond the hedgerow.
Shhh. Now we’re making the garden. We’re the only ones here. We knew the season would turn and we would again ignore the world, as people should from time to time. There is a season to turn inward and plant, to think of the metaphors, to practice Resurrection. It’s Easter Monday. The strawberries have bloomed even among the clover.
What gifts were left here for us. The woman who lived here before planted bulbs, and every day is a surprise. The tulips crept taller by the day, and finally, the bloom on Good Friday was deep purple with an iridescent pink sheen. That night we went to service and after each scripture reading, we blew out a candle until only one light remained. Then that lone candle was hidden away and put us in the dark. It became a night of shadows, and then there was a loud bang in the back of the room called the strepitus. It signifies the earth’s quaking upon Christ’s death.
We sat in the dark, heard the quake, and then the candle came slowly and silently back to us, and we left in the quiet hope of that one light but also still in the tension of sorrow.
Then yesterday we woke and said “He is risen!” and later the boys with the other children led the procession with hands full of flowers. They decorated our precious symbol of death with every color, and they proclaimed Christ’s resurrection as the clergy entered in carrying the big book we live by. We said “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”
It’s a brand new time for us. We have fallen in love with Christ’s church in a new way, in the way of spring. They keep the quiet candle burning. We meet with them and we sit down. We sing and we confess. We take communion like a sending out, like a great commission to go and serve. Only as we go, we take a hefty dose of peace along with us.
The peonies are in such abundant near-bloom that they’ll sleep on the ground if I don’t raise them up soon. Our list of things to do is long, and you know how overwhelmed I get. I would never sit down if it weren’t for you. My work comes to nothing without the rest, without the constant slow burn of light we keep between us. You keep me from going out, and you keep me from burning out.
Let us keep covered this season. Let the peonies bob their big heads soon, and let the grape leaves cover the arbor. We’re saving up for an open time, for the giving that comes with harvest. It will be our joy, then, too, to welcome every new season for what it really is – an icon, just a window into our real lives, into the unseen.
I love you.
Read’s Seth’s letter here, and feel free to link up with us any time in the month of April. It’s encouraging to others and, believe me, it’s encouraging to me. Thank you!
Before you begin here, read part 1 of this story: Disappointment by the Mediterranean Sea. Before our Shabbat meal, my mind turned like a rock polisher full of too many rocks, and my legs felt the weight of a week’s walk. As we poured the wine and clinked our glasses together, as we tore the braided […]
March 17, 2015 By Amber
Two Fridays ago, I entered the old City of Jerusalem as the sun set and Sabbath began. Our kind host greeted us at the gate and led us winding uphill between stone walls like a maze. I would have been lost in two minutes had he not been leading. This gentleman hosts authentic Shabbat meals […]
We all knew it was our last scene together in Israel as a group, the sea air in Jaffa, the city of Jonah. After a short jaunt through the market and a gorgeous spread of Arabic food, we walked to the railing by the sea. It was pitch dark, so we couldn’t see the distance, […]
Being in Israel and hearing stories from about a hundred perspectives was like picking up teeny tiny puzzle pieces. We left every morning at or before 9:00 a.m. and by the time we got back every night after 10:00, I would throw the puzzle pieces on my side table with no time to try to […]
This is how to write, how to live: so unaware of self that you become the thing that you really are. Napkins within arm’s reach bleed blue with your psalms – how you notice the spider’s immaculate web by the kitchen door, how dark rain ushers Autumn in her explosion of color. Your voice is […]
Seth, here. Amber has hitched a plane to the Holy Land, and while she’s gone, I’ve sneaked in herr to leave her a little marriage letter. Would you consider joining us in writing marriage letters this month? ***** Amber, We left early Saturday morning to beat the ice and snow to the Tulsa airport. I dropped you […]