easter sunday chapel

The Morning Blooming.

My parents owned a time-share in Hot Springs, Virginia when I was a teenager, and we spent long weekends there in the spring and always for Easter. There was a beautiful white clapboard chapel close by, and parishioners would pack into the narrow pews and the room would grow uncomfortably stuffy and loud. I registered every rustle of a dress and creak of the floorboards, every stifled cough and stern whisper. It was a distracting way to celebrate Easter. I couldn’t tell you a thing the priest preached — now or then. One Easter, packed in like a sardine, I started to feel woozy and tugged at my mother’s sweater. My face must have been pale, because she took one look at me and gestured for me to go outside. I clambered over my siblings, whose heads bobbed up in curiosity-turned-jealousy, slipped down the aisle, and tumbled into the deliciously cool air outside. The sky was a determined bright blue, the parking lot behind the Church vacant, and I stood there alone in my floral Easter dress, breathing in the leafy silence and cool of Hot Springs in early April. The memory emerges now as an easy metaphor for today, this holiest of holidays: the release into daylight, the morning blooming like redemption incarnate.

P.S. On prayer and on novenas.

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