The day dawned over a half-inch of snow spread across the rolling hills of Carnie’s Honker Spring Farm. Ellen comes out from the master bedroom and tells me, A little while ago huge flakes were falling, and we stand together speculating about the weather. Her dog rolls over in his bed and stares at us for a minute before letting his eyes fall shut again.
I slept as well as a person can sleep after assaulting her CNS with gluten and white sugar, half at dinner and half at 9:30, watching recordings of sit-coms with Ellen and Jerry. I knew the dessert would jangle my nerves and once again, have proven the theory: no white sugar, no gluten, at least not that close to sleeping. But otherwise the morning found me fine, with the uncovered windows letting in the light over the pasture behind the house and the CNN app on my phone announcing three big wins out West for my son’s favored candidate.
I wrap myself in a shawl and sit in a wing chair in Ellen’s living room, while Ellen makes coffee and we laugh about Jerry’s self-righteous admonishment of her for losing her wallet. If you keep it in one place all the time, you will never misplace it, he told her, repeatedly, for a half an hour, in various versions. The funny part? That he can’t find his gluco-meter. When I found that out, I howled at him, Fraud! Fraud! Fraud! while Ellen cackled in the kitchen.
I’m not a Christian. I was raised Roman Catholic but left that religion years ago, for one reason and another. I’ve thought about the concept of a deity existing in a trinity a lot over the years, and have concluded that I don’t know, I can’t know, and I don’t mind not knowing. I’ve seen angels; I’ve felt the hand of a kind and powerful deity pulling me back from abyss after abyss; and I subscribe to the contract theory of faith: I do the best I can by God, and God does the best God can by me. It’ll sort itself out in the end, one way or the other.
Now I smell the aroma of Ellen’s coffee, and I hear the rattling of mugs. I can almost taste the coffee. I’m feeling wonderful.
Whether today commemorates a risen crucified Jesus or the newness of spring, I feel the promise of new beginnings rising within me, bringing a well of joy from my belly. In an hour or so, we will put on pretty clothes and drive down to the Stony Point Presbyterian Church. Ellen’s friends will greet me with their radiant smiles and the pastor will take my hand in both of his while his wife stands beside him with that confident, comfortable presence that pastor’s wives have shown for ages. I will sit beside Ellen and smile at her grandchildren as the choir rises its voices as one. I will think about how much I have changed since I sat in that same church last year, broken and grieving. I will wonder at the resilience that I did not know I had.
It’s the twenty-seventh day of the twenty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Happy Easter, my friends. Happy Spring. Happy, Happy Everything. May your life continue, and may new beginnings await you.