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  • Writer's pictureChar Seawell

Saturday becomes holy….

Saturday by the sea began inauspiciously. Our lives disrupted during a home sale, we had taken refuge in a local waterfront restaurant.

“The call of Holy Saturday is to practice remaining.”

As we approached the hostess, the air grew cold and hard and distracted. We seemed like an annoyance to the young woman about to seat us and noted when she left to see what seats were available that her spirit seemed downcast. She returned and briskly took us to our table, and as she set down the menu, I asked about an unusual nose ring. As she told the story, her face softened and joy began to leak out. She sought and held eye contact and exuded warmth. Her step was light as she stepped away.

In her place a waitress appeared, and we both sensed her tiredness underneath her professional pleasantness. We paused to give full attention and to ask, sincerely, about her well being. Though others were there, we noticed she began to linger in her visits back as we continued conversation. As we prepared to pay our bill and leave, she stopped to make sure I noted the bill. On it she had written “Thank you” and her name. She pointed to the words again and got eye contact. “Really,” she said emphatically, “Thank you.”

“To remain with pain, to bear witness to wounds. This is central to the work of redemption.”

Spontaneously, we booked a whale watch tour a short walk away on the marina. The wind was bitter and hard, and as we waited in line, I noticed a young woman bundled up expertly against the cold and engaged her in conversation. As we entered the cabin, I asked if my husband and I could join her at her table as she seemed alone. We wandered through pleasantries until she ceased sharing about her job and family.

She said she didn’t want to make us uncomfortable, but she had her sister’s ashes with her and had planned to scatter some in the sea on the journey today. She pulled out a small wood box, and we shared stories of ashes, as over the years, we had been taking my mom’s with us to places she loved, leaving a little of her at each place.

“Witness and with-ness are practices of new life, practices opening new possibilities, practices of resurrection. Holy Saturday reminds us that redemption is encountered not in victory over death, but through remaining with death in a way that honors both life and loss, gift and grief, fear and wonder.”

Intermittently throughout the journey we connected and shared a bit of our life stories, until, at docking, I looked her in the eye and let her know that I knew how hard this must be, and that I knew she would be successful in her undertakings. I had wanted to ask her to join us for dinner but lost her in the crowd shuffling down the ramp and on to dry land. Suddenly we caught a glimpse of her ahead of us going a different way. She smiled and fought against the current of people headed with her. Approaching us quickly, she simply wrapped her arms tightly around me and then around my husband enveloping each of us in a deep hug. And then she was gone.

“No,easy answers. No quick fixes. No superficial attitudes. God meets us in deep, complicated and messy ways; God dwells in deep complicated, and messy places.”

Headed to dinner where we started our morning, another waitress approached us and I commented on her beautiful pearl bracelet. She smiled, “It’s not a bracelet. It’s a necklace I double over and wear on my wrist. It belonged to my sister who died. I play with the pearls and it reminds me of her.”

“To remain with pain, to bear witness to wounds. This is central to the work of redemption.”

This was a Holy Saturday not of our own making. At the front of our consciousness was the history of this dark day before Easter, so we nestled close to our Hope, and we opened ourselves to the whispers of a broken world around us. And a peace that truly passes our understanding settled in our bones and guided our words and attention.

And I was left with this reminder…..

Maybe our life’s purpose is simply this:

To be interruptible.

To be present.

To notice.

To be willing to ask the deeper questions.

To listen with all of our senses to the heart’s cries below the veneer of life.

To experience the Holy in the ordinary.

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Apr 18, 2022

Everywhere you go, you touch people in profound ways. You inspire me to be better. Thank you.

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