Back in my younger days, I liked me a good roller coaster. That is, after I overcame my stark terror of them. Anyway, I loved, loved, looooooved the thrill of it all. The slow and nerve wracking ascent, the stomach lurching drops, the speed in the corners. But the best part was always the moment of suspension at the apex of the climb, that second where you know what is about to happen and the anticipation is palpable.
I climbed Half Dome once. We summited as the sun began to sink over the Sierras. The view from that height over Yosemite valley was incredible. The fact the moon rose to the East while we celebrated near the precipice was an added bonus.
Jac and I honeymooned in Glacier National Park. It was my choice. I had visited with my family while in high school and experienced one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. On a cold and foggy morning we drove up the winding Road to the Sun highway. That day it really was the road to the sun for as we drove, we climbed out of the fog until, finally, we cleared the shadows of the mountains, too, and saw the sun. I wanted to bottle up the feeling of exhilaration to keep forever.
And so it is with the spiritual life. We must feel the highs to know the lows and endure the depths so we can recognize the heights. The ride is nothing without anticipation, the view flat without the climb and memories are made coming out of darkness into light.
We stand on the edge of Lent, forty looooong days of a walk through a socked-in valley. It’s not all that “fun” but it does make the High Feast of Easter, Christ’s triumph and Resurrection that much better. A well lived Lent makes for a breath taking Easter season. And, I would argue, a big Fat Tuesday makes for an even better fast.
So party it up we did. Inspired by Maria Von Trapp, we had ourselves a costume party and asked our guests to come as their favorite literary characters. No one questioned the request and Susan and Bridget came decked out to eat the pancakes and crepes and more sugar than you can shake a stick at. Father Tyler was there, too, full of regret that he hadn’t thought to buy a wig for the festivities. As for us, we had a Robin Hood, Snow White, Lupio, Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh. Jac made a fantastic Ebeneezer Scrooge and I was Mary Lennox from the Secret Garden. We had pop and wine to wash down the syrup and Nutella and we laughed loud and long in anticipation of the solemn season. We enjoyed the dizzying heights to their fullest.
And now? NOW we are ready to begin.