We wait. We wait for spring, for news of friends and family and for the choices we make that change us into what we need or want to be.
My phone rings early this morning. The call is from Karen telling me her great-grandmother died last night. She was 92. We all say the same thing, “She lived a full life,” but the sentence is trite and empty. I grieve with the family knowing how they will miss this stable woman in their lives. Karen was able to go to Atlanta to visit her along with her mom and her grandmother. When she came back she was in awe of the fact that there were four generations in one room; and all strong women in her life. Now the family prepares for another trip to Atlanta to pay respects and tell her stories.
A few minutes later my phone rings. It is my brother Jack from Texas. His wife just went into surgery for the birth of their twin boys. We are on edge. Denise, Jack’s wife, has been in bed and in the hospital for the past few months and the babies will be eight weeks early.
I wait. I wait for Karen’s plans and for my brother who is hoping, but fearing, at the same time.
Saying that we just have the present is the truth, but it is also cliché. Are we not the past and we will not play a part in history even though we won’t live long enough to see it?
This week I was able to tell the story of Abigail Adams to fifth-grade students at Hendry Park Elementary. I fell in love with Abigail when I was 12 years old. My family spent summers on Lake Michigan from Memorial Day to Labor Day, coming home in time for school to start. The cottage was big and old with dorm rooms upstairs, one for the boys and one for the girls. There was a huge fireplace in the cottage as well with overstuffed chairs for reading. The kitchen table was round and always filled with friends and family playing cards or talking or having supper together. Outside, the sandy scented pathway led down to the water. Lake Michigan was like an ocean to us.
As soon as we unloaded our summer gear and organized our rooms we headed into town. We needed supplies for the refrigerator such as milk and eggs and bread, the usual; but our first stop was to the local library to get our summer reading cards and books. My sister Jessie and I always brought home stacks of books for those chilly nights by the fire. The year I was twelve I brought home Irving Stone’s novel, “Those Who Love.” The story is a biographical novel about John and Abigail Adams. It was then I fell in love with her.
Since that time I have been able to study in her library in Braintree, Mass., and have read countless books on her life. This week I brought her alive in my first person performance. Abigail spent her entire life waiting. Waiting for her children to be born, waiting for John to come home (sometimes years), waiting for the crops to come in for her cash and patiently waiting and hoping that she and John would make a difference in our world. I would like to tell her that her sacred selflessness shaped the world we live in.
This is Easter weekend, the holiest of the holy. The rituals and celebrations are strong whether it is in Passover or ending Lent or celebrating the Resurrection.
There are services and cantatas in churches on this day. There is an early morning Easter walk at Pokagon on Sunday as well. In ancient times the Celtic folks believed that the sun actually dances on Easter morning.
We remember our own pastel dresses and eggs hidden in gardens or tucked away behind the couch when the snow would come. Even then we waited to eat the candy, we waited for the ham to come out of the oven, we waited to be grown up.
The babies come. The boys are small, both 3 pounds. They are tucked up under the breast of the mother and into the hands of the father before they are whisked away to their new world of incubation.
Life and death dance together on this holy week. We are blessed in every way as we wait patiently for tomorrow