After Easter, there is a silence. Christ has vanished at the breaking of the bread and I must find new ways to see him.
My friendships are changing; what once felt like sharing in each others’ lives now feels one-sided, as their lives bloom and mine just…doesn’t. One friend gushes about her new boyfriend, who she knows is ‘the one.’ Another sent me a text welcoming her new daughter into the world. We talk about potty training and marriage prep, handmade invitations, showers, registries. I’ve been asked to read in an upcoming wedding, which means, among other things, that all of my girlfriends in Atlanta are engaged or married.
“I’m the only single person left in Atlanta. It was on the news the other night,” I quip. My friends think this is very funny. I do not think it’s that funny.
I browse fashion magazines to feel new. I click through Facebook until late at night; envy gurgles over pictures of fresh faced college students’ enthusiasm in photographs from abroad, plump gorgeous babies balanced on the knees of new mothers, great bicycle trips against a backdrop of blue sky and ancient peaks, soft still-lifes of white-clad brides against a dusky backdrop, friend heads tilting, toppling, telling of their closeness by the tough squint of their eyes in the blessed moment in which they can reside, and rejoice.
And I struggle to stack up the particular blessedness of my life against these scenes. Joy remains as elusive as the granules slipping from a fistful of sand. It seems my lens for gratitude is only Eucharist. There are fleeting moments of happiness, the still, small warmth of a candle in the yawning night, but then I am back on the sea-tossed ship, or curling up beneath a tree in Gethsemane.
Doubting Thomas, broken in love. He could not reconcile the Cross and the Resurrection, so burdened by his earthly eyes and understanding, but so sincerely seeking. He watched the other Apostles with bewilderment and, I venture, rising bitterness. How could they see; how could they understand? What was this joy they knew? And further, why would he love again, would he risk it, when he had loved Christ and was torn open by his death?
Thomas could not come to the Resurrected Christ. So, the Resurrected Christ came to him through the Wounds. “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas, come to the Resurrection through my wounds. If you cannot rejoice with me in my glory, if you cannot yet worship and give thanks, enter into my suffering. To find me in my Resurrection, probe the wounds of sin and death. Suffer with me the nails, the thorns, the spear. Join your broken heart with mine, your loneliness and rejection with mine. I have made all things new. To touch my wounds is to touch my Resurrected body, and when you raise your eyes from the nail marks, you will see my glory.