Sunday Stride – Straddling the line between joy and sorrow…


Palm Sunday snuck up on me this year.

Did it sneak up on you?

I’m surprised since I’ve been walking through the daily readings posting faculty/staff reflections for our Lenten blog. I’ve literally watched the readings lead us here. But still, I almost missed it.

I looked over what I had written around this time last year (I’ve been reflecting weekly on the Sunday readings for over two years now). Last year, I started my post in a dark room on a quiet night on a retreat several years ago. It was still the time of shelter-in-place so my reflection focused on what we’d been missing and what we were longing for. I was clearly steeped in sorrow reaching for joy.

But this year? This year I feel like I’m straddling the line between joy and sorrow. One foot firmly in each. I’m supposed to finish my vaccine at the end of this week. My husband starts his tomorrow. Things at school that were off my calendar for a year are slowly being added back on (even though they look a bit different). My oldest son will receive two Sacraments after Easter. The days are getting longer and the sun is shining more.

On the other hand, we are still in a pandemic. We are still mourning the loss of over half a million people. Mass shootings have begun again, and evidenced by the checkout clerks conversations at the grocery store this Saturday- we are all a bit on edge about it. Fear and sadness is still very much a part of our days.

This line we are straddling right now between joy and sorrow is reflected so clearly in today’s readings. We start with Jesus, the King, being welcomed into Jerusalem with joyous celebration. And we end with the Passion according to Mark and watch the sorrow and fear and pain of the journey to the cross.

So what does this straddling this line mean and why do we do it so often? I honestly think it’s simply a part of being human. Though we may feel very off balance right now and this may feel “new”, most of our life is straddling this line.

But there is always hope too.

After all, Jesus is right there with us, straddling that line with His feet next to ours. He is there showering grace upon us so we stay balanced and see the glory and love present for us on both sides.

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