Week 3

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My daddy is listening to Harry Potter on audiobook. He has found, at 71, another kindred spirit in the imagination of J.K.Rowling. My mum reports his enjoyment, his laughing out loud, his wonder.

The roads are quiet in our small town, every other car has a Domino’s sign on top.

My daughters play happily in the pile of stones. It is my life lesson, I think. The one I keep on learning.

I talk to my friend in Germany and she asks what the hardest thing is for me. “Not being alone”, I answer. (This is always my answer. Although sometimes I pretend it is not.)

I am tired of technology, even though it brings us many gifts. I have reached my capacity for tuning in and logging on.

I decide there are worse things than butter marks on books and Top Trump cards, and stop my fussing at the table. We wonder if our youngest is old enough for Rummikub and she answers the question by beating us all mercilessly.

I go for a walk in the evening, slowly past my friend Louise’s house, in case I can see her in her kitchen. Wave. Maybe shout across the road. Hello! Isn’t this weird? Are you doing ok?

My daughter counts down the days to Easter Sunday. I ask her what it is she likes so much about Easter and she gives the holiest of answers. CHOCOLATE.

*

Easter Sunday 2020 – chocolate, an early morning walk, online church.

It is not the same, although some things are.

I thought of Mary, of course, as I walked in the morning. I thought of the disciples, locked in a room. I thought about how much changed in the course of a week, from Palm waving to crucifixion, from joyful praise to uncertainty and grief. It didn’t turn out the way they expected. They were bearing witness to a story that was still unfolding, and they were bearing witness to their own changeable selves.

When we read The Lion , The Witch and the Wardrobe last year I had to pause at the paragraph where Aslan was killed. My eldest daughter could not bear to hear it out loud. I didn’t read it, but that is not to say we skipped it. She knew. It meant something. She feels the same about the crucifixion and I think she is right. There is something in pausing, in acknowledging how unwelcome it feels as the story unfolds.

I miss gathering in church, close-up, for communion and scripture reading and ‘Thine be the glory’. I miss real-life faces and voices and Amanda on the piano. We are forced to pause, to acknowledge how we feel as things unfold. We are in small rooms and we are afraid. We are walking in the morning and we are searching with hope.

It is not the same, although some things are.

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