I used to see new moms pushing strollers on long walks and think, "Wow. She is brave and awake and rocking this." But then I became one of those stroller ladies and realized it's quite the opposite. We are stir crazy and lonely and desperate for sunshine. We are tired of people always touching us, so we put our spawn into strollers and push them down the street - a metaphor for the space and freedom we desire.
It is also true that traffic and earbuds make it nearly impossible to hear that one of your children isn't enjoying the stroller ride. Thus, you continue strolling for your own sake, pretending everyone is having a ball.
The den at my house has been my winter tomb. I am usually on the couch holding a baby or two, changing a diaper or two, pumping a liter or two. People come and go, visiting and helping, but I usually remain. I have only wandered out of this maternal hibernation of babies and errands for a few worship services now, but with each trip to Zion part of me is resurrected.
Maybe that sounds silly. I have been so grateful for this family leave and these weeks apart from work. I am glad for the bonding time with the girls, and also with Jasper. I am happy about my wide village and the time I've been able to spend with them. I wouldn't change a thing.
But I have missed that other vocation.
So as often as I am touched and feeding at home, I come alive when I touch and feed folks at church. Every handshake and hug invites me back into this ministry. Every piece of bread given today felt more miraculous than it usually does.
At brunch my family members asked about Easter at Zion:
Do you always have that many dogs in worship?
Why was that guy with the cane crying?
I heard someone say that Zion is a healing place after all his church has been through this year.
Do you ache at the thought of Jill and David returning to Ohio in June?
Who was that guy in costume who kept hugging you?
Was it okay for that one lady to touch Solveig's face so much?
...and that other lady almost spilled hot coffee on her…
Easter at Zion has trumpets and lilies, but it also has grief and schizophrenia. It has life long members and dear ones who will soon transition away from us. It has egg hunts for kids who get forgotten by the Easter bunny. It has a beautiful, young Muslim woman watching your children in the nursery. It has a Jewish woman singing lovely solos. It has an organ with a sticky siphon we pray over.
It has all kinds of people God loves crawling out of winter's tomb and up to the altar for bread. It has all kinds of people who are stir crazy and lonely and desperate for sunshine.
And so it is the place for me, too.