This Lent felt longer than the past several, and I think it was a combination of factors that made it so. We don’t eat meat everyday in my house regardless of the liturgical season, but we made it a point this year to abstain on Fridays and to have at least one other meatless dinner a week. We did it so that we would be thoughtful of the season because it certainly isn’t an actual sacrifice for us. I like singing in Latin, but after weeks of Sanctus, I was ready for the Holy, Holy, Holy. I didn’t fast because I’m currently feeding myself and my kid, which makes for a perfect storm of caloric needs. Nevertheless, the season felt long.
The result was that I was very ready for a joyous celebration. We were able to go to Nashville to spend time with half of our family and to meet our newest member. At twenty days old, my nephew may have been the youngest person at mass. Despite really, really wanting to celebrate Easter inside the beautiful, packed church with the excellent choir, I spent the homily through communion sitting on the stairs outside and wandering through the outdoor stations of the cross. A few things happened–I forgot my medicine, the incense was strong, the hand bell choir rang their bells nonstop through the Gloria (another song I was really happy to sing again), and–most critically, because I could definitely handle everything else had this not happened–my favorite baby kept me up all night for the fifth night in a row. He was out of whack and woke me up roughly every forty-five minutes. I drank too much coffee to attempt to stay awake through mass, which was the crucial mistake. I could feel the wonky feeling turning into a hot flash and a solid dose of panic, which I took as my cue to exit quietly.
You know what? I’ve always felt closest to God outside. My Easter in the outdoor garden under the trees looking at the flowers and getting myself together was exactly right.