"Whan that aprill with his shoures soote . . . ".*
"April is the cruellest month . . .".**
Which is it?
Holy Week precedes April this year (as Michelle also points out in referencing Chaucer as well), but the chronological calendar is not as important as the sacred one.
This is the fifth one without Josh. It's a hard week.
I spent a week on retreat a few autumns back, an entire week, contemplating the Stations of the Cross in the Wernersville Chapel. Day after day I stood before those carvings, contemplating the depth of suffering of mother and son, friend and friend, disciple and Lord. Sometimes the intricacies of the dark woodwork reflected Jerusalem in about the year 30. Sometimes, Chicago 2008.
On Sunday I will proclaim the hope of resurrection. I have no idea what I am going to say. Something from the Isaiah passage about new heavens and a new earth. Something about how the resurrection narrative in Luke leaves us hanging ~ people who have run to tell others about an empty tomb but don't yet know what that means. Something.
We started, all those weeks ago, with ashes. I still have an urn about half-filled with ashes, and I have those ashes I've stored in waters and mountains from west coast to east. The tombs in the cemetery down the block are still slammed shut. My friend likes to visit her husband's, but I don't know how she finds comfort in that concrete mausoleum door, sealed tight until her own demise.
Which is it? Shoures soote or cruelest month? Both-And. We don't know.
Maybe it does look like this:
Week Four (Resurrection) of the Spiritual Exercises Windows, Seattle University Chapel
*The first line of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (14th century): "When April with its sweet showers . . .".
**The first line of T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land (1922).