I wish I could say that I’ve had a quiet year since last Easter…but alas, it isn’t true.

I’ve had much to celebrate, and much to mourn as well. My family continues to walk with Willie through his self-injurious and aggressive behaviors. My dear friend Allison endured a grueling year of cancer treatment, went into remission … and is now experiencing troubling symptoms.

My husband had a blood clot that went undetected for weeks and could have been fatal. My dear friend and surrogate grandpa Gene passed away. (And then there was that Thanksgiving roadtrip …)

And then, last month, our apartment building caught fire … in the recycling area, which is the room right next to ours. Though the damage was minimal, the smoke-y smell and sense of what-might-have-happened have hung in the air ever since.

This year has had its share of Not-so-great-Friday moments — the times that stop ours heart and make us think that they might never beat normally again. Times of blank terror, of violence without and within. The stories we don’t want to tell.

This is my winter song to you / The storm is coming soon / It rolls in from the sea*

We will never forget those terrifying times, yet, for the most part, they don’t represent our everyday lives. Ordinarily, we exist in ‘in-between time’, the time after the crisis, but before the resolution. We spend most of our time in ‘Saturday’; that is, the period between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

In this time, we’re reeling from what’s happened, and we can hardly dare to hope for healing. We’re not sure when — or if — the tide of our trial might turn. We envision an endless future of things-exactly-as-they-are. And when our longing for change becomes too painful, we let it go, and despair sets in.

We feel abandoned and afraid … and guilty, because surely if we’d just done things differently, it wouldn’t have turned out this way.

They say that things just cannot grow / beneath the winter snow / Or so I have been told

They say we’re buried far / Just like a distant star / I simply cannot hold.

Is love alive?

But the story doesn’t end there, because Sunday is around the corner from Saturday. True, it may take years for our circumstances to turn that corner, but still, it’s there, on the horizon: a day that changes everything. A day when impossible miracles happen, when the healing we’d hoped for rushes in. A day in which we realize that, in fact, we were never abandoned or alone, not for one second.

In fact, a faithful AWCC reader just sent me this (without knowing the subject of this post): “Let Easter and accompanying Spring be the source of a new energy for you …. I understand that you’ve been through some difficult times recently. But as the stormy weather passes over, I wish you a lot of sunny, beautiful days ahead.”

I still believe in summer days / The seasons always change / And life will find a way.

I’ll be your harvester of light / And send it out tonight / So we can start again.

Yes, we suffer loss in this life. My wise friend Cassandra** once summed up life’s trials like this: “When people I love die, and when I can’t do things right.”

We make mistakes, and we lose people we can’t live without. We wake up on the Monday after Easter Sunday and wonder if anything at all has changed.

But every so often we hear a whisper of truth: that our mistakes don’t define us, that our loved ones are alive in our hearts. And on Easter, we see that maybe our hearts are on to something.

That maybe love is Life after all.


What carries you through your toughest times? Tell me in the comments!

*Lyrics to “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.

**Names have been changed.

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  1. Harriet Cabelly April 9, 2012 at 4:08 PM - Reply

    Another gorgeous post by a beautiful writer.
    Words of inspiration, like yours, carry people through tough times.
    Faith in the understanding that we have no real understanding of the suffering and most difficult times in our life; that we simply have to hang on for dear life, allow ourselves to feel the pain in a deeply real and raw way, and know we will stand up again. The clouds will shift and the rays of sunlight will shine through, even just a few rays to start with. That’s the hope.

    • Caroline McGraw April 9, 2012 at 4:12 PM - Reply

      Thank you so much, Harriet; that means a great deal to me. Words of inspiration and blessing have certainly borne me through many difficulties; sometimes I think I write what I most need to hear.

  2. Sarah Bayot April 9, 2012 at 5:29 PM - Reply

    Beautiful way you captured the culmination of Lenten season. I love the description of “Saturday” and the in between in which we live our lives. I do believe in summer sunny days. We have moments, sometimes entire days. I believe in summer days for those we love too. One day. Keep the faith and keep moving forward, together ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Caroline McGraw April 9, 2012 at 5:49 PM - Reply

      Amen to that, my dear friend and sister. So many of my favorite summer days have been spent with you!

  3. Brooks Palmer April 9, 2012 at 6:37 PM - Reply

    “That maybe love is Life after all.” That’s beautiful, Caroline.

    • Caroline McGraw April 9, 2012 at 7:57 PM - Reply

      Thank you, Brooks! Great to see you here. I’ve been enjoying your ClutterBusting blog entries from the Southwest tour – that spa day sounded fabulous! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Metod April 10, 2012 at 3:55 PM - Reply

    Oh Caroline, I hope you’re not tired of my comments but I just can’t not to comment…especially on a beautiful post like this. But then again, they’re all beautiful and so hopeful.
    I try to find comfort in difficult times in knowing that I’m not in this alone and that everyone is fighting some kind of battle but most importantly, that we have each other. That even in the loss of someone the love we used to share will remain in our hearts forever.

    The season is changing now…so Caroline, just like they sing in this beautiful Winter Song – believe in summer days as the life will find a way…

    • Caroline McGraw April 10, 2012 at 4:07 PM - Reply

      Tired of your comments? Never! Thank you for the encouragement and support you offer, Metod – I look forward to your sharings. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Tiffany Lekas May 4, 2012 at 1:53 PM - Reply

    Isn’t always amazing how when it rains, it pours? When you get through one thing another just keeps on coming. Very well put Caroline.

    • Caroline McGraw May 4, 2012 at 2:23 PM - Reply

      Thank you, Tiff! I hope the post gave you encouragement in this time of teething! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. […] L’Arche also makes big deal out of birthdays. Each community member gets a celebration, a night of songs, gifts, and dessert. On the anniversary of each person’s time at L’Arche (i.e., their L’Arche birthday), they are anointed with water by their fellow community members. This simple ceremony is an intimate thing. It is a time for us to affirm to one another: yes, you matter. Yes, our love for you is alive. […]

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