Sick days are bound to happen. As a mother of three, the winter is rarely kind to us all. Both my husband and I find ourselves adjusting work and appointments to accommodate the little sick ones that need to stay home. One of the great things about sick days is that we have permission to just be. Often homework and chores get tossed to the wayside. We drink gatorade, read stories, and watch movies.
On a recent sick day, my son was in the mood for Star Wars. I observed as he lay on the couch watching not one, not two, but all three of the (first) movies. Even I found myself captivated again. It was as if watching this with my son brought a whole new element to the story itself. I sunk into the plot in a whole new way.
It's hard to quantify how immersing ourselves in stories like this changes us. In our culture, we think of this as nothing more than entertainment - a way to kill time on a sick day. Some stories are worth no more than that, true.
But the stories that seep into our bones, the ones that we just can't shake - those are usually like that for a reason. We keep going back to them because they hold something about who we are, something we don't even know yet. Maybe we still need them because we, indeed, are still discovering the elements of how choices are made. We need them to help us know who we want to be.
For too long Holy Week has been another laundry list on the chore chart of faith. So many days, so many services, so much to . . . do. Perhaps we've taken the drama out of the week. We've let it become about too much teaching and not enough in-dwelling. We've let it become about piety and devotion. Only the religious people will really "get into" Holy Week. It's their duty, right?
But what if it's really just all about the story? What if this is one of our greatest opportunities to sink into the plot, to immerse ourselves in the characters, to face the impossibilities of the choices? What if the narrative of the week offers us something that we can't refuse? Another lens and another way of seeing who we are. Perhaps even, if we are joining a new community, a way to experience the story a whole new way as if for the first time.
As we prepare for Holy Week 2016, let us make space for the drama. Let us allow it in. Let us sit together on our "community couches" that we can't do anything else but sit there and wait for another chapter to unfold. We cannot quantify how this story will change us. But we can wait in hope to see how it makes it's home in us. And making a home for this story, this is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to one another.