Every year, Easter is a different experience.
As a child, I loved the Easter Triduum. Those days between Lent and Easter were unlike any others. They were filled with incense and action, a quiet interlude filled with drama and reverence as we moved toward the joy of Easter. There was reverence embedded in the atmosphere. The congregation moved about the church differently, making liturgy at once both arresting and enchanting.
Memories of this time abound. I recall, as an altar server in high school, watching as my parish priest kissed the feet he washed on Holy Thursday before inviting the whole congregation to wash each other's feet. Or as a college sophomore, I remember watching as the flames of each individual's candle reflected in the windows of the church as we processed in from the lighting of the new fire at the Vigil Mass.
The lessons of these days were bold: Faith is what we carry with us through the darkness; it burns brightly when we cannot see. The feet we wash lead us out to serve, making the days of Triduum stretch far beyond the three days they occupy on the calendar.
Even last year, as I studied with other Sister of Saint Joseph novices from around the country in Chicago, I remember driving in silence on Holy Thursday night through the city's streets looking for churches to visit, to offer prayers with my sisters in the darkness, for the needs of the world.
These are memories I hold dear. They take me to special times and places in my life. They speak to the grace and new life found in these Easter days, the joys and hopes of faith revealed.
This year was not like that. This year, my Triduum celebration, liturgically speaking at least, was a bust.