Sometimes I wonder if, perhaps, we are in a golden cage, with the lock on the inside and the key in the lock – a golden cage of materialism in a field of green with a stream nearby and a bright blue sky overhead. I wonder sometimes if we have been set free by the Easter joy of resurrection; but stay confined in Lent or Holy Week simply for its drama, or its familiarity or both.
How has Easter changed us? What are we doing differently in this new season of white?
Today I am moving from one house to another. The process is grueling only because when I move I feel like I should have been a guest on a hoarding reality TV show. How could I, who was not long ago a monk, have so many possessions? One reason is that they were passed on to me by dead family. Another is that I clutched those death-duties rather than passing them on. Another is that I accepted gifts for 50 years of Birthdays and Christmases. Another is that I am addicted to purchasing things the way other people are addicted to drinking or porn or taking prescription medicines for mood management or work or any of many other addictions. When I feel insecure or when something in life triggers me – a mean comment, a manipulation, a defeat, a rejection, a betrayal, a loss – when I get triggered, I find myself wanting something… Just wanting it.
The feeling of wanting seems so small, so gentle, so quiet and so harmless. I want a new sweater. I saw an ad for a candle …that… I…now… want. I want a new CD or a new audio book at iTunes. I want a new set of dishes. I want new books. I want new coasters. Or perhaps I just want to wander and see what the marketing experts can incline me to want when I am wanting and wandering … you know…wanting … in general. So I buy something. And juices squirt in my brain which offer pleasure and power. I own this now. I did not previously own this, but now I own this. And does this thing I now own …this new thing…not make me look or seem or feel just a bit better? My new icon makes me feel spiritual. My new book makes me feel curious and intellectual. My new sweater makes me feel modern or chic or elegant or put-together. My new car makes me feel impressive or fun or fast or powerful. My new cassock makes me feel ecclesial and impressive to those not in black. My new furniture makes me feel like I have a stage-set worthy of who I wish I were…
So I am wondering as I pack thing after thing, into box after box, how my life might change so that I find better ways to feel well on this planet and in my skin. And I wonder also if the resurrection of Jesus might not be the invitation to make all things new.