Of Easter eggs and stumbling upon delight — a column by Lindsey Weishar

“My Vocation is Love” / By Lindsey Weishar

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of monthly columns for The Catholic Post by Lindsey Weishar of Champaign. Read more about the author following her column.

I’ve recently discovered the term Easter egg has a second meaning. Though still a receptacle for chocolate and childhood joy, it can also refer to a hidden feature in anything from video games to Jeeps. Unexpected and undiscovered by many, an Easter egg adds another layer of interest to a product or place — like an extra level in a video game, an animal motif hidden somewhere on the body of a car, or the numerous Mickey heads hidden throughout the Disney World theme parks.

Though I don’t have vivid memories of childhood Easter egg hunts, I’ve retained the thrill of the search for those vibrant plastic eggs that — unless squirrels found them first — contained something unknown inside. The surprise of Easter eggs of both the plastic and un-plastic varieties is the extra bit of unexpected whimsy they provide. It’s like finding 10 forgotten dollars hidden in a winter coat or receiving a letter in the mail. The discovery is a delight.

A WORD FOR THE YEAR

In early January, I took a leaf from the “Abiding Together” podcast and chose a word for the year. The three friends who host the podcast, Sister Miriam James Heidland, Heather Khym, and Michelle Benzinger, annually choose a word born out of prayer — attentive listening and discovery of what God is placing on their hearts. Their recent words have included: littleness, romance, and listen. To my surprise, the word on my heart for 2020 has been bride.

Consider asking our Lord for a word to guide these last months of the year, a word that like an Easter egg becomes more real and delightful to you once you know you’re looking for it.

Though a slightly difficult word to abide in my singleness, bride has been an Easter egg of sorts in what’s turned out to be a tumultuous year for so many of us. When the word comes up in Scripture or song, I listen more carefully to what’s being said. The word has come to join a host of other Easter eggs the Lord has placed into my life: flowers, St. Thérèse, letters, and book recommendations. With each of these outward signs, he guides me closer to him, especially when I feel I’m far from his love. These signs delight my heart and are often unexpected — like seeing a favorite flower in the home of a friend or finding a St. Thérèse statue in a church I’ve never visited before.

He has this with each one of us — this supremely personal way in which he loves. Your own pattern of speaking with him and noticing him is all your own. He pursues us through our interests, through others, through images, words, and the world around us. He is always speaking, always inviting. Sometimes I forget that the ultimate Easter egg hunt is a lifelong event.

THE BEAUTY THAT IS STILL EVERYWHERE

For some of us, perhaps, 2020 stopped joy in its tracks. The unabating pain of COVID, racial unrest, and the vitriol that comes with election year rhetoric is enough to flood us, to leave us spiritually unwell. Like the paralytic lowered through the roof by friends, we, too, may be paralyzed by doubt, fear, and even bitterness over the myriad ways in which our nation and our world continue to suffer. Unlike the paralytic, some of us have not seen good friends in months, and can no longer easily imagine the crush of humanity that would make breaking through a roof to get close to Jesus necessary.

Over all this, Christ calls us to resume our search for the loveliness that dwells even amid the gloom. I’m often struck by the groom’s words in the Song of Songs, which is at once a call to the Church as bride and to our individual hearts: “Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, / and come! / For see, the winter is past, / the rains are over and gone” (Song 2: 10b-11).

Arise. Spoken again and again over those for whom rising seems impossible.

Though 2020 is slowly winding down, perhaps consider asking our Lord for a word to guide these last months of the year, a word that like an Easter egg becomes more real and delightful to you once you know you’re looking for it. Watch for the images and words God is bringing to your heart again and again. For some of us, delight is difficult right now — such a light and airy feeling in a rather dismal reality.

I’m heartened by the words of Caryll Houselander, who, in “The Comforting of Christ,” reminds me: “Every ordinary thing in your life is a word of His love, your home, your work, the clothes you wear, the air you breathe, the food you eat, the friends you delight in, the flowers under your feet are the courtesy of his heart flung down to you! All these things say one thing only: ‘See how I love you.’”

In allowing ourselves to be loved in the ordinary, our senses are sharpened to the particular ways he pursues our individual hearts. My prayer is that even in these weary times, we can still be captivated by a flash of vivid color, peeping through the grasses of our souls, inviting us to discover what Gerard Manley Hopkins in his poem “God’s Grandeur” calls “the dearest freshness deep down things” — the beauty that is still everywhere.

A resident of Champaign and a member of St. Matthew Parish, Lindsey Weishar is a 2009 graduate of The High School of Saint Thomas More. She is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Illinois, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in English Language and Literature/Letters.

In 2018, Weishar received a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also worked as an instructor for three years. Most recently, she was an English language and adult literacy instructor in Kansas City.

Weishar’s writings have been published by Verily, Ploughshares, Young Catholic Woman, and Catholic News Service, among others. She has been a guest columnist three times this year in The Catholic Post. “Matchbook Night,” her poetic reflection on time spent in Sicily, was published by Leaf Press and named the winner in the International Category in the Overleaf Chapbook Manuscript Competition for 2017.

Besides writing and teaching, she enjoys learning about cultures and traveling. Among her travels thus far was a trip to India to work alongside the Missionaries of Charity.

Write to her at lweisharwriting@gmail.com .

 

 

 

 

 

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
© Copyright 2020 - The Catholic Post || 2 || All Rights Reserved || Design by TBare.com