Holy Saturday is the day of death, poised between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. For me, it feels like the place I’ve mostly been these last few months, waiting for my wife to die and hoping that there’s resurrection. And her’s hasn’t been the only death recently. I’m learning that that the death of loved ones is inevitable if you get to my age (I’ve just been sent my Medicare Part A card until Speaker Ryan snatches it away from me, and have also picked up my British State Pension). There have been many, too many, intimations of mortality.
And so I wait for Easter. Will I recognize signs of resurrection when I see them? The gospel accounts suggest that Jesus’s followers didn’t, for they were seeking, not resurrection but restoration, the recovery of what was lost. Mary mistakes the risen Jesus for a gardener; and two disciples walk with Jesus to the village of Emmaus, unaware that it’s him until his characteristic act of breaking bread. But the past has gone forever, and all the tears in the world can’t undo the present and restore what’s lost. Faith is the triumph of hope, not of nostalgia.
I talk to Udho every day, and am not too troubled by her lack of response. Faith tells me that she has a life beyond my life, so I must let her go and accept that she has new things to do and be. Just occasionally, I seem to catch a glimpse of her smile, an echo of her laughter. That must be enough for now, though I wish there were more.
As for the future? Well, tomorrow, I shall play a record of Maria Callas singing the Easter Hymn from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, and echo her words: “Inneggiamo il signor non è morto”: – “Let us rejoice, for the Lord is not dead”. Some of my friends will tell me: “Christ is Risen”. And I shall respond: “He is Risen indeed”. This year, I’m keenly aware that there is real suffering, actual death, before there can be resurrection. And I shall hope to recognize it when it comes to me.