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April 2, 2007
A week that looks long from the beginning will hurtle to its conclusion rather quickly, as the terrible events all pile up at the end. Modern scholars differ on the actions and motivations of the principal characters, but we all know how it ended: for us, if not for them, an inevitable death hangs over everything.

But it is only Monday. You have time. Perhaps you know from your own walks with the dying what it is like a few days before it happens, when you both do and do not acknowledge what is ahead. Sometimes you think things are looking up: a set of more encouraging test readings, an entire day with less pain, and you begin allowing yourself to hope that the cup of loss will pass from you both. And then things turn again, the main direction of the march reveals itself, and your hope deflates. Sometimes you even wish it would just hurry up and happen, so it would be over. And then you recoil from the wish, because you remember what it will mean.

As the week goes on, we will move farther and farther from our culture's steadfast euphemizing of death. To our friends who do not believe, we will seem for a few days like people from another time and another place, medieval people, the credulous natives of a more primitive age. We will venture out, from time to time, to buy a ham or a leg of lamb, a few dozen eggs, a rabbit made of chocolate. We will clear the dining table and the living room, and run through our Sunday menus in our minds. But mostly we will wait and listen to the story of some people in ancient times who lost everything, filling in the blanks they left with our own memories of ourselves.


Tomorrow evening: Holy Trinity, South River, NJ, the second of two evenings exploring prayer with Barbara Crafton. It is not necessary to have attended the first evening to benedfit from this one. 732.254.1734
Maundy Thursday: Geranium Journey to St. John's, Lattingtown, NY. Bag lunch and discussion with Barbara Crafton, 516-671-3226.
Good Friday: St. Luke's, Metuchen NJ, 12-3. Barbara Crafton will be among the preachers, 732-548-4308.
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