I am wiped.
After multiple services on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, I am pretty much gutted. Which is, I think, the genius of it all. Intentionally, Holy Week is an ordeal. It creates a series of rituals that slowly drain your physical, emotional and spiritual energies. And it’s cumulative.
Every Holy Week I think I’m finally smart enough to plan ahead, get my rest, and be in total control all week. But someone always dies. The computer mysteriously deletes three pages of your sermon. You’re in the ER at midnight with your cat’s UTI. There’s always something.
You’re up late and up early. Sleep deprivation is key. It wears you down and renders you emotionally vulnerable. You find yourself tearing up at the strangest things.
If the barrier to transformation is our need for control, then the ordeal of Holy Week is designed to wear us down, weaken our egoic will and make us vulnerable to some power beyond ourselves.
Here’s what I think I know (to be honest, I’m not really sure): Not all exhaustion—obviously—is good. But sometimes it is the only thing that can overwhelm our impregnable defenses—against change, new truths, the entrance of the ‘other,’ anything that challenges our preferred way of seeing ourselves, other people and the world.
The blessings of exhaustion are always seen in hindsight. While we’re in it, we just want out! But later, sometimes, we can give thanks for the struggles that brought us to the end of ourselves. That is how I think I feel on Easter night.
Then again—ask me in the morning.
Another great one, David. Thank you. God sure does like us when we’re vulnerable! All those chinks in the armor let more light in. Hooray?!
Another great post to close out Easter, David! Thank you. While I can’t relate as a priest, as a singer I remember it well–an absolutely flattened sort of satisfaction. It’s easy to say now (since I’m not in PHWE…that’s post-Holy Week exhaustion…mode), but since we now attend a Methodist church, the thing I think I miss most is the rigor of the Holy Week (marathon) liturgy (well, I also miss St Luke’s!!).
leslie smith says
dear David, so well said, so true. I’ve been on the Holy Week marathon with you; Easter never fails, in spite of my occasional worry that it might, to bring heavenly joy and satisfaction. I have a plan for next spring however: I shall not attend mid-week Lenten soup and study, nor sader nor foot washing, nor stations nor seven last words, nor first fire at night. Then on Easter morning I fully expect Easter joy, welcoming happy morning. I’ll let you know. Best wishes, Leslie
The blessings of exhaustion are always seen in hindsight. That alone was worth the read. Thank you, David
Ginny Lovas says
Feel a little like you do,David. I think, tho, you need to go thru some of this exhaustion in order to truly appreciate the significance of Easter.
Get some rest this week. Ginny
Hope the cat is ok – been there, done that!
clark johnson says
David. Hope that you are somewhat replenished if not completely so
Also find that Holy Week is such a huge emotional and religious trip and lots of other things rolled into one. Good Friday really wipes me out! Easter is a new beginning!
We are so fortunate to have you and Jonathan and Don and Denise with us!!
The Lord has resen indeed!
David Anderson says
Thanks, Clark–a day or two of rest does a world of wonders!
It’s Friday and I’m just reading this and now I know why…because I am always exhausted on Friday. And every Friday I check myself to see why I’m exhausted…am I drained negatively or positively? They are very different (and obvious) feelings for me. Thanks David a perfect Friday read to steady myself for what I need to do (including nothing) to replenish.