Happy almost Easter friends! I debated sharing this post because it is a little different from my other style of blogs. It is just a simple post. No pictures or lists just something from the heart.

As we enter into this joyous season of Easter, I cannot help but think about Easter 2020. Last year, Lent felt like it dragged on. I remember going to Ash Wednesday mass and then mass that Sunday. Little did I know those would be the last times I would be able to go to sit in a church. I always took for granted the fact that I could go to church. It was something that had been consistent in my life but that changed overnight.

I remember watching church on the computer and thinking this will not be so bad for a couple of weeks. I can sit in my pjs and drink my coffee while watching mass. A couple weeks turned into a month and then we were at Holy Week. Holy Thursday mass and Good Friday service are some of my favorites to attend. I find them to be beautiful and opportunities to reflect on my Lenten journey. Watching those masses on the computer were not the same to me. I missed the smell of incense and the quiet and stillness of a full church. I missed getting to spend time with Jesus at adoration which typically follows the Holy Thursday mass.

It was Holy Week 2020 where I really felt the effects and darkness of the pandemic.

Easter Sunday rolled around and my mom and dad I sat around the computer dressed up to attend mass. We zoomed with family and Facetimed my nephew since this was his first Easter. I zoomed with Marek’s family and wished he could be there with me (he was deployed). We ate dinner and enjoyed each other’s company. For a minute, the world felt normal, but it was not.

I never realized how important going to church was to me until I was not able to. The first time I got to step foot in a church was in May 2020. Marek had returned from his deployment and we were meeting with our priest to go over the new details of our wedding.

We walked over to the church to discuss some logistics. I remembered walking in for the first time since early March. It was quiet and kind of eerie but at the same time I felt an incredible peace. We were not in there for long, but it was then I realized how much for granted I took going to church.

The next time I was in a church was to marry my best friend. Everyday I feel so blessed that Marek and I were able to celebrate the sacrament of marriage in church despite the heaviness and darkness in the world. I was able to receive communion in the church instead of in its parking lot. I was surrounded by the people that love us. I was able to pray in front of Mary for guidance on being a wife. There was beauty in the silence as Marek and I promised to love one another for the rest of our lives. The church felt full despite there only being 12 people in it. I think the love that Marek and I share for each other combined with everyone who was thinking about us on that day made it feel full.  I felt at peace and sad at the same time because I did not know when the opportunity to attend mass would happen again.

About a month ago we started attending mass again. We have been able to restart our tradition of mass and Cracker Barrel again. Life feels normal despite the masks and having to sit 6 feet apart from others. I feel blessed that we will be able to attend the Easter Vigil and start creating new traditions together. While we will not be able to celebrate with our families, we will get to celebrate with a few friends who have become family.

I know that we have all experienced the loss of something that we take for granted during the pandemic. A year later I have had the opportunity to reflect on this more and in my reflection I found a deeper appreciation in being part of a faith community. This deeper appreciation has helped with healing the loss and darkness that I felt this time last year.

I am going to stop now because if you know me you know that I have the incredible ability to ramble on and on.

I guess I just wanted to share with you to remember not to take the simple yet important things in life for granted because you never know when that opportunity might no longer be available.

Happy Easter friends!

Caitlin

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