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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Lambert Cheshire

What happened to the lilies

What happened to the lilies outside the Tomb

When Easter morning was over?

After witnessing the Resurrection,

Did they simply fade away?

How could they come so close to the Author of Life

And just be erased?

How could so many human lives do the same?

I look for refuge in screens,

Seek numbness to ignore the pain:

Three million dead.

A boy of 13 shot.

My own baby just learning of her wounds.

‘What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out from the ground!’

‘Where were you when I was sick?’

It’s easier to feel nothing

Than to wrap my head around so much loss.

Easier to buy another outfit

Than to wear the weight of this knowing.

But Lord, in this moment I take refuge in your wisdom

And rest in your eternity.

You knew Creation at its dawning

And know the intricacies of each life gone—

Whose mother braided their hair;

Which ones hated peas.

Just like those lilies,

Here I am, trying to live out the beauty you intended for me.

Witnessing your mystery of life and death

Taking refuge in your unfathomable unknowing with your word upon my lips


One of my favorite papal quotes is from Pope St. John Paul II: “We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!” While I seek for “Alleluia” to be my song every day—and especially during the Easter season—this year has seemed to feature more loss than any Easter I can remember, and I am feeling it. This week, the Johns Hopkins University count announced that the world has surpassed 3 million deaths from COVID-19.

Yet another mass shooting happened.

Yet another person of color was killed by a member of the police.

Yesterday, my family buried my uncle, and the British monarchy buried their patriarch.

The day before that, I attended a Wake for a colleague.

Some days, the weight of all this loss sets in and all I can do is lament. But often, if not always, lament is paired with comfort. One of the things I love most about being Catholic is our tolerance for mystery; unlike the very cerebral tradition in which I was raised, the Catholic church makes space for saying, “I don’t know, it’s a mystery of God.” I meditated on two of the greatest mysteries—life and death—in this psalm of lament and found great comfort from God in doing so.

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