As the calendar got ready to flip to April and the promise of spring, I was sick. On Holy Thursday, I croak-sang through six preschool music classes and by the time I got to mass that afternoon, I was mouthing the words to every song. My duties as a music teacher had spent the last bit of singing voice the illness had spared. By Good Friday morning, I woke with throat pain and full-on laryngitis, and wondered how on earth I would lead the singing at the service that evening. I took a deep breath as I entered our chapel, and croaked through four songs on a steady stream of bottled water and cough drops while we venerated the cross, cracking and frequently missing whole words. I regularly would open my mouth and nothing would come out. There was a big song planned for communion, big in meaning and in volume, and most everything in me was saying it was impossible. I whispered as much to one of the guitar accompanists, who said he’d cover me if I suddenly dropped out, but I replied that I was counting on God to sing through me, that sometimes this happens after communion.
And here I will testify: God did sing through me. It was full-throated and emotive, and I was conscious throughout that it was not me. By the end of the song, I knew it was a miracle. As one of the refrains we sang that night goes, He is my life, my strength, my song. I am slowly learning the beauty of what can be accomplished in me when I get out of the way.
Today, my family of four gathered after Easter mass around our table and enjoyed a simple brunch we’d all had a hand in making. Perfectly sunny-side eggs, crispy bacon, roasted asparagus, slabs of ham, blackberries and pineapple, sourdough bread, spinach and apple salad. It was lovely, delicious, and so joyful. I so loved watching my twenty-year old and eighteen-year old children sharing stories of their childhood and laughing together across my table. So simple, I know, but I recognized in the moment (for once) what a blessing it was. It was my privilege and my gift as a mother to watch them today.
As much as I loved the bacon and the blackberries, I know in my bones that the joyous meal we shared came at least in part as a result of the meal we’d had just a couple of hours before at mass. Something miraculous happens in the Eucharist, I know it. It binds and connects us, feeds us and fuels us, and gives us grace to see and experience a deeper level of gratitude and peace. It can make the impossible possible. The communion I shared on Friday allowed God to live in me and sing to His people. The communion we shared at Easter Sunday mass allowed for a deeper, richer communion as a family around our table. These seem like small happenings in our speck of a dot on a map, but from a Heavenly perspective, they’re not small. In communion, there is life and it’s abundant. On rare occasions like Easter, we have grace to experience the impossible, like music where there was silence, or life where there was death. How beautiful.