The last vestiges of winter are always so sad and dirty looking. As the snow begins to melt, it reveals leaves and litter from the previous fall. We are tempted to clean the mess right away, but the biodegradable part, leaves and stems of plants, often have become the winter home of butterflies, bees and other pollinators. If we do the clean-up before it is warm enough for them to rise and shine (above 10⁰C), we’ll be destroying a lot of new life.
The last vestiges of a person’s life are often not the best of times either. During Lent this year, both my father and our Sr. Clarice Garvey died. Each had been experiencing some dementia towards the end of their life and we were left feeling that we had begun to lose them long before they passed on.
The day before Clarice’s funeral, I sat in the chapel of Presentation Manor and gazed on the Risen Christ figure hanging above the altar. This figure is not shiny and glorious. Instead, the artist, Timothy Schmalz, has created a figure that bears the signs of suffering and of resurrection in a way that I have never seen before.
I pondered on the lives of my father and Clarice… Both had lived good long lives. Bothwere well respected and well loved by family, friends and the wider community. As I continued to gaze on the Risen Christ figure, it struck me that it is the totality of who we are that is loved by God and rises to New Life… not just the good, pleasant bits.
As we move into our celebration of Easter this year, may we name and embrace, not just the glorious and shiny parts of ourselves, but also the other parts, including the sufferings and temptations of which we might not be so proud. May we accept the totality of who we are and know that we are loved by God as we rejoice and dream of ways in which we too will rise to New Life.
Sr. Christine Gebel, OLM