Celebrations and Heartbreaks – There’s Always a “Day After”
As part of our family’s domestic church experience, we celebrate feasts of major saints and feast days such as the Annunciation or Holy Thursday by eating favorite foods and having special desserts. We also used nicer dishes than our everyday ones – though the “good china” is reserved for Easter and other major celebrations. This “pink plate” celebration tradition developed over a period of time, as our children were born over a fourteen year period. With the coming of our grandson into our household, we have continued to expand the number of feasts celebrated with the pink plates, as well as the types of foods.
Recently we celebrated the Annunciation – with waffles for dinner (a Swedish tradition) and angel food cake (for the coming of Gabriel) with blueberry topping (blue for Our Lady’s cloak). The next day, as I warmed left-over waffles for a little boy’s breakfast, I was struck by the reality that there’s always a “day after” a feast or other celebration.
A “day after” is often a lower energy day. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling tired or cranky, especially after a major celebration like Christmas with its late nights and early mornings. Sometimes, however, we are pleasantly relaxed and peaceful on the “day after.”
The spiritual life is reflected in these experiences. We have highs and lows — times when God seems very near and times (the harder ones) when God seems far away and totally uncaring. Wonderful celebrations such as Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, or a wedding, ripple through our lives — sometimes for a few days, weeks or months. Then the glow begins to fade and ordinary life concerns move again to the center of our attention. It’s a normal pattern and not unhealthy. The highs can’t be sustained — they take too much energy. More importantly, we meet God equally profoundly, if not more profoundly, in the rough times. Jesus, after all, went through His passion and death before He was raised up. In the hard times, we meet and experience the love of a God who has experienced rejection personally. God cries with us and kisses away our tears. Then in the “days after,” we know in the depths of our being that we are loved and all will be well. Maybe not what we expected it to be, but right and well. Not a bad result.
Image by Robert and Mihaela Vicol – Released to the Public Domain