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Navigating uncertainty: re-hearing the story of the women at the tomb

By Chaplain Jenny Schroedel, Optage Hospice
“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’  But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.’” Mark 16:1-8
Chaplain Jenny begins, “It’s Eastertide and spring is afoot. Just as the daffodils and tulips wake from their winter slumber, we may also feel as if we are waking from a strange dream into a changed world. In conversations with residents, family members and staff, I hear mixed emotions: relief and weariness, bitterness and hope.
It is no accident that we hear the story of the women at the tomb just after Easter. We are invited to flip the page back and reflect on the journey. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, these women are called the Myrrh-bearing Women, for the precious myrrh and spices they carried to anoint Jesus. As we reflect on their journey (and our own) common themes emerge:
We can navigate uncertainty. These Women had a job to do, but they were wobbly on the logistics. They had no idea how to roll away the stone. But this did not stop them. Likewise, we knew what we needed to do to support our residents and families and yet each day we struggled against crippling logistics and ever-shifting guidance around Covid-19. Even so, we discovered that we could pivot and adapt to get the job done.
We can let love guide us. The Myrrh-bearing Women did not have a perfect plan, but their love for Christ helped them find a way. This past year, we found a way through the unimaginable. In times of disorientation and grief, love helped us reorient toward the immediate needs of those around us.
We can live with empty spaces. Perhaps this year’s Eastertide finds you with empty spaces in your own heart. It’s okay to just let them be. There can be places within for quiet reflection and remembrance, for all that is unanswered and unknown. God meets us in these empty spaces, rolling away the impossible stone and inviting us to journey through death into life. Like the Myrrh-bearing Women, we do not need perfect certainty, we need only to step forward in love.
More selected devotionals in the Light for the Way series:
Optage Senior Dining Choices: Delivering meals and hope
Committed to reconciliation
Trust in God inspires person-centered care
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series
In addition to Light for the Way, you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care website

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