Last Sunday, we officially reached the end of the Easter season. When I was anticipating Easter this year, I was full of a lot of hope that the Lord would provide new life for me, increased hope, joy, and peace. I was desiring for the Lord to bring me to the Resurrection garden. I remember being upset after Easter Vigil because I didn’t feel the release of Lent being over. I knew I should be full of joy with all of the Alleluia’s, but I wasn’t. I was still stuck in my Lent. I wanted an instant fix.
For weeks, I lamented the fact that it didn’t “feel” like Easter to me. Especially during that first week after, the octave. I was thinking about how at the convent the sisters would be celebrating all week with desserts and extra “fun” time. I was pondering how much easier it was to live liturgically when I was in the convent. I tried to live the octave, but it didn’t feel any different than regular life outside the convent walls.
After the octave, I stopped trying to live liturgically in the way I did when I was with the sisters and just entered into the daily readings and prayer every day. I did let one phrase from the Sequence on Easter stick with me: “Christ, my hope, is arisen…He goes before you.” This phrase alone describes my Easter season perfectly.
I had fallen into the trap of feeling shame again about leaving the convent. I was hiding in my own fear of the unknown. But over time, throughout the Easter season the Lord worked on me. He was gentle; He took His time. Each day He reminded me who I am and whose I am. Little by little, He was putting the pieces back together that I had scattered during Lent.
The Lord went before me on Easter. He used the entire season to heal me, day by day, little by little, so I was never overwhelmed. We lived in the garden for all 40 days. Jesus planted the seeds and then we worked on cultivating and watering, weeding and pruning. I wanted to live in the garden, I just didn’t realize that meant I’d be the one growing. I just wanted to already be grown. But the Lord had something different in store, which turned out being so beautiful.
Last Sunday, on Pentecost, I realized how free I felt. The Lord used the Easter season to show me His faithfulness and grow His freedom in me once again. He used the garden to continue helping me grow into the woman He created me to be. He reminded me that He looks on me through eyes of mercy. We ended the Easter season with this verse from Zephaniah 3:
“The Lord is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear….Fear not, O Zion, do not be discouraged! He will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in His love. He will sing joyfully because of you.”
It was such a perfect way to end the Easter season and embrace Pentecost. The Lord had definitely been working on renewing me in His love throughout Easter. And what better way to be reminded that the Lord is in our midst than the Solemnity of Pentecost? While not everything is better, and I still have plenty of wounds, I have hope that the Lord continues to go before me and that I will continue to grow through His help.