Pascha 2014 has come and gone, but the joy of the celebration of Christ having arisen is still with us during this wonderful time of Bright Week (the week after Pascha/Easter). This year I was in terrible pain when Pascha arrived. Service happens for us Eastern Orthodox Christians on the Saturday before Easter Sunday and it begins usually at 11:00 PM.
As many of you know, or may not have known, my arthritis is flaring and the pain level tripled or quadrupled. I was in misery for most of Holy Saturday. I was hurting so badly it was difficult to breathe and movement of any kind set the pain to rumbling and thrashing through every joint in my body. Still, with help from Carlos, my loving and wonderful husband, I was able to get dressed, get some make-up on (I was determined on the make-up front) and then into the van.
We reached the Church very early, almost an hour early, but if I had not gotten into the van to go when we did I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go at all. When we reached the Church there was only the priest, Father Tom, and one other gentleman there. I parked my wheelchair, closed my eyes and just prayed and gave all the pain to God the very best I could and let myself feel relief for having actually made it to service.
For those of you who do not know what a Pascha service contains I really can’t give you many details because they wouldn’t make sense, but I can tell you there is a processional outside and then Father and the acolytes go up the steps to the front of the Church and there is much singing. In the Antiochian tradition, Father knocks on the doors three times and calls for the “gates” to be opened. A gentleman chosen earlier, will call out the answer to questions Father asks, playing the part of the Devil. When the doors of the Church are opened the entire Church, which was dark when we left, is ablaze with light, warmth, and such joy! The entire thing really should be experienced at least once for you to get the full effect of what happens.
After service is over, the Pascha/Easter baskets are blessed and we all go downstairs to have a wonderful feast with our friends. Even though I was in horrible pain, I was not going to give up the Paschal feast in all of its many aspects. I am glad I didn’t, because this year the service was more of a blessing than any Paschal service yet: Because this Pascha was about healing the Soul, for me, so I can deal with the body.
Easter Sunday The Husband and I went to Richmond to see Big Daddy. We brought him back to Lexington for a great steak dinner. There was much laughter had by all. The day was just filled with love. It was wonderful.
Yesterday and today The Husband took off from work and the laughter and joy has continued. With the weather cooperating the pain has decreased a bit and with me sitting in the sun for a while each day, the pain is less. It would be fantastic to say it was “manageable”, but the truth is, the pain is out-of-control now and is looking like it is going to be that way until I can see someone at a pain clinic. There is even an appointment for a pain clinic visit – May 28th. Yeah, it isn’t a close date.
I am not going to let the pain stop me from living as much of my life as possible. It can slow me down, of course, but it cannot stop me. This is especially true since I am working at not stopping. Sometimes I feel as if all I do is fight to keep going. At other times I am enjoying my life and not thinking about all the bad things looming in the dark clouds in the distance. I guess I just prefer the sunshine to the storm clouds.
Writing has begun again. Unfortunately research took up most of my mind today, and planning. Many people say I am an intuitive writer, meaning I don’t put too much thought into what goes on the paper/screen/notebook. This used to be true, but with WHRT especially there is intuitive writing along with planning. Because of the combination the writing is moving along nicely, albeit a little slower.
I hope all of you had a marvelous Easter for those who celebrate it, and for those that don’t, I hope you had the best weekend possible! More later on through the week as the schedule returns to something of a normal pace.
Christ is risen!
Indeed He is risen!