Theoretically, the arrival of spring is inevitable. It doesn’t feel inevitable in April. We get handed a day of sun and short sleeves, the forsythia squint out, and then winter yanks us back. Today is forty degrees, overcast as a trenchcoat, and the wind slaps everyone in the face. Grow up! It’s not spring yet!
Last Friday evening, I wore a summer dress under a cardigan and a winter coat. My boyfriend and I made rounds of art galleries. He walked up to me holding a cup of beer, and I could smell the alcohol underlying the grainy bouquet.
It’s still winter, and it’s still Lent. I miss drinking. The poisonous streak of alcohol, then the flavor in my mouth, down my throat. Then it turns my blood from calm magenta to fluorescent and squealing. I can live without it, just as I can live in long underwear and wool hat and long boots. But the abstemious life is isolated and itchy.
During Palm Sunday church, we read the whole Passion story, for the benefit of everyone who doesn’t hit the extra Holy Week services. Some people would miss Jesus’ death all together, and be completely confused by his surprise appearance at Easter next week.
I like how Peter freaks out. Every time you trust something to save you, it ends up getting crucified. Every time you are inspired, you are shocked by the death of inspiration. It just happens that way.
I think the Passion story is about how people survive disillusionment. People somehow move toward new beliefs and new opportunities. Regardless of whether some Jesus person in any way came back to life, I believe that resurrection is real.
Eventually, spring will win. Although this Sunday I held my paper next to my wool coat and shivered, some Sunday soon I will stand at that same intersection, with my arm bare, glowing in the sun. From shivering, we will glow, and then sweat, and then go back around again.
Where most religions emphasized the circular sense of the year, and of life, Christianity has a streak of linear energy, messiah-seeking, a future orientation. Christianity relishes spring. Worships spring. Fetishizes spring.
The winter is still in front of us. We’ll kneel and mourn and listen to the gory details of Holy Week’s winter, only because we hope spring is inevitable.