At Palm Sunday Lake (a holy week meditation)

This last weekend leading up to Palm Sunday didn’t pan out exactly the way we thought it would. We planned for things and they seemed to go poorly; tried to remind ourselves to breathe deeply, and we kept saying, Sorry. Sorry it ended up like this.

But Sunday afternoon, it was all redeemed. We took a family nap, and I decided it was time for a little adventure, hoping to God it would be a well-chosen one.

There’s a lake about 5 minutes from our apartment complex that is nestled into a beautiful little community of houses. There’s a walking path around it, a bridge at one end, swings and benches and families playing with toy speedboats on the water, fishes trying to dodge their wake.

We sat on the grass and ate tortilla chips and barley-corn dip, tabouleh, and avocado. We drank mango flavored LaCroix. We smiled and looked at the sky and laughed at our crazy boys. We remembered where we came from and talked about where we’re going.

I told Travis that I need this– little celebrations along the way, little traditions, like coming to this lake every Palm Sunday for as long as we live in Atlanta. Like camping every summer as the semester ends, a time for our family to remember and process and celebrate that we’ve made it one step further, still fully alive.

Now, we’re entering into this tradition of Holy Week, and I can already feel the weight I’m putting on myself. I’m already forgetting the glory of yesterday, and counting my mistakes one by one– that moment I was impatient with Eliot, that totally selfish thought, for wanting to tune out completely for a day and forget everything around me.

And I’m sitting in Eliot’s bed with him as he falls asleep, and I’m thinking about all the tantrums he’s thrown this morning, because he’s tired, he’s a little sick, because, because, because…

and I think again about Holy Week.

Holy Week isn’t about remembering how holy we feel we need to be.

Holy week isn’t about tallying up our own self-righteous acts of gallantry or whipping our own backs over the weight of our sin.

It’s remembering the origin of all goodness, in the eyes of Jesus. It’s watching our reflection there, watching ourselves transform from rags to glory.

It’s about hearing His voice echo through the generations, from those days when He actually walked the road to His death until today, where He stands beside us, still leading the way.

Looking in His face leaves us with nothing but pure reflection, nothing but lovingkindness and mercy.

It leaves us celebrating, calling ourselves chosen and held and blessed.

It leaves us longing to sit on the grass as the cool breeze wafts across the lake water, as the clouds slowly shift across the azure sky, and we are breathlessly content. Then and there, we tally up all the blessings, all the stories of triumph of faithfulness.

There we say, This is all holy, indeed.

And the lenten road to calvary and resurrection seems more real and tangible for us every day, because His living gives us room to thrive and remember every good gift.

Happy Holy Week, friends.

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