On Tuesdays and Thursdays around these parts, Preston and I write letters back and forth. We share the wonder of mystery, grace and our encounters with mercy. We hope to see you in the comments. Read the letter I'm responding to here.
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia. There is such a beautiful and good call and response hidden in there, such a good, and beautiful echo from priest's proclamation to congregation's singing. I love that in the Easter season all the hymns are filled with Alleluia. After hiding that word from our vocabulary in Lent, how joyful it is to shout it, and whisper it to each other, and pray it?
I'm so glad that the time with your friends was filled with joy. I think I can understand a small part of that, because when I'm with my family I'm reminded that God is absurdly generous with His people. He gives us each other for the journey, and each other for the long hard road of obedience. He gives us tables filled with friends and family and ice cream sundaes on Easter night. He gives us long conversations that take hours over chais, where we learn the contours of our beating hearts. He gives us each other, Preston.
And then, just when the gift is too much for my small hands to wrap around? I realize He gives us Himself.
And I'm foolishly in love with Him. I'm in love with how He appears to us in baptism prayers over infants, and on the long run around Coy Pond in the grey early morning light. I'm in love with how God's goodness cannot really be dissected, but entered. I'm in love with His faithfulness. How He promises to be with us always to the end of the age, and I keep turning around to find that He is keeping that promise.
Preston, God found me in Mississippi this weekend in a small Orthodox church. He stirred inside me and instead of anxiety, which I usually feel, He brought peace. I stood off to the side, my black pencil skirt and flats feeling out of place in the colorful church, my hands kneading into each other. There wasn't much I knew in the service. But I sang anyway, my voice quivering.
And God said, Hilary, I see you.
My heart stopped. How did He know that I felt so out of place? How did He hear me asking myself the question of if I'll ever really belong to God, really belong in church? How did that unasked question get answered?
But again, He said, Hilary, I recognize you.
We find and learn that peace about peace by being still. We let His voice speak over our dark spaces and our bright ones. Sometimes I am not willing to let God give me peace. I think chaos is so much more exciting and interesting - I think it makes me more intelligent, to be chaotic and questioning. I think it makes me more "authentic" and "cool."
Maybe we learn that peace about peace by being foolishly and helplessly in love with God. Maybe we learn to accept His gift of Hilary, I see you by smiling widely to ourselves on the plane rides and the coffee dates and praying our love out loud.
Love, and every Easter blessing, and may His love abound and abide in all places,