Alleluia Anyway

At the beginning of Lent each year, I hang a banner that I made several years ago inspired by my friend and resource for all things Episcopalian, Jerusalem Greer. Crafted of book pages and die cut letters, one side of the banner spells out the word REMEMBER and on Easter Sunday the banner is flipped to read ALLELUIA. (Fun fact: the word “alleluia” is not spoken in the church during the entire Lenten season until Easter Sunday.)

This morning, after I reversed the banner and took a picture, I noticed the letters were scrunched up on one side and not on the other. That imbalance and imperfection seemed quite appropriate; life for the entire world and our country has been HEAVY as of late and for me personally, there have been struggles and issues both big and small. Many of which have few, if any, easy answers. My faith has been lukewarm at best, and although I have found some comfort and solace in the pages of my daily Lenten study, I have been riding my emotions like a roller coaster up and down daily.

In March, as always, I decked the halls with eggs and bunnies, summoning the brief southern springtime which melts all too quickly into the heat and humidity of an early summer. And as usual, we planned an Easter get together. Easter traditions have evolved for me over my lifetime from the church going, Easter egg hunts, and lunches with extended family I experienced as a child to the years when our girls were young with Easter baskets, fancy dresses that were worn just a couple of hours, and hiding plastic eggs in the house , to the first year of the pandemic Easter where we had a socially distanced egg hunt outdoors at my mom’s house.

Due to a variety of reasons and work schedules, we decided to gather Saturday night rather than Sunday and kept our meal simple with ham sliders, sides and desserts. We hadn’t dyed any Easter eggs this year so I boiled four dozen and had them ready to go. We all got together, we sat where we could, we ate, we talked, we played with Gus, our newest grandpuppy. It wasn’t perfect or exactly as I had planned. Not a smore one was made at the fire Trever built – but the marshmallows were consumed, even the weird pastel colored ones I bought on a whim. And those four dozen eggs I hard boiled? I see a lot of egg salad in our week ahead.

After everyone left and Sarah went to take her cousins home, Trever went and sat by his fire, and I cleaned up a little bit, took a benadryl, and headed to bed. I have been sick this week and was utterly exhausted but content. I had the most important people in my life together for a little while, my grown children and nieces and nephew are still close and enjoy spending time together, we are gaining a son in law (and judging from the way they adopt animals, an entire menagerie of grandanimals). As always when the family gathers, I missed my Daddy, especially when Trever was telling Sean stories about him and telling him he wished he could have known him. We have so much to be grateful for. Life can be good and life can be bad, but it is not going to get any easier, which makes it even more important for me to gather the strands of my faith when they become thin and frayed, and appreciate the good moments as they happen.

This morning, I concluded my Lenten study with the Easter devotional and had my coffee. Although I didn’t attend a church service, I will likely watch St. Peter’s service later today. And I am fortified with the hope and knowledge that whatever this life tosses our way, we must forge ahead, do what we can to help others through this life and realize even when things are not ideal, we must Remember and say Alleluia Anyway.

-Karri Temple Brackett
April 8, 2023

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