“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” I’ve heard that since childhood. Perhaps I’m beginning to understand it now.
Holy Week is upon us. My experience of it varies each year. In Alaska, Holy Week is a somber, but hopeful time. No matter how late Easter comes, wearing short-sleeved spring dresses and bare legs with strappy shoes is usually pushing the season. We still put on chilly-weather attire, even on warmer, sunny days. Only teens are brave enough to wear sandals and T-shirts.
We’re all rejoicing that our daylight hours are longer, hinting that warmer days are ahead. At least by May. Or later.
Since my husband’s passing, I change the floral tribute to him at the cemetery each season. Sometimes that’s a challenging chore. Two years ago we had record snowfall. Snow covered all but the top few inches of the gravestone, and I couldn’t make the change. Last year in mid-April, I broke through a foot of snow. This year in March, the snow is gone! The ground is frozen; the grass is still brown, but the snow is gone!
In other seasons, changing the cemetery decoration brings feelings of loss, how things used to be, melancholy or regret.
In contrast, the change during Holy Week brings me hope—a hope I want to share with the world by having an Easter tribute in the cemetery. We Christians look forward to celebrating Christ’s resurrection and our own future with God in eternity.
No matter how much or little the snow cover, no matter how cold or warm the weather, no matter how early or late Easter is celebrated, the promise of resurrection is the same. That’s a sameness I want to cling to.
Phyllis Rude, a Women of the ELCA executive board member from 2008-2014, attends Lutheran Church of Hope in Anchorage, Alaska.
Photo: The flowers on Phyllis’ husband’s grave during this Easter season.