Don’t Hold on to Me

Today’s Easter, so I guess I should post a picture of tulips, or starbursts, or a blazing sun, or Jesus looking triumphant, but I don’t like any of that. I don’t like Easter.

I like the story of Mary and the gardener, and I like how he said her name. Then, she recognized him and threw herself at him, threw her arms around him, clutched him to her, and he said,

“Let go.”

“I can’t be the way I was before.”

The story reminds me of how nuns were trained to detach from their families, so that even when they saw their relatives, they were supposed to no longer feel such strong attachment to them. You can see a beautiful portrayal of this in the movie “Dead Man Walking,” in a scene that shows the life of a young nun. In her first encounter with her family after she has taken vows, she responds freely as they embrace her; in the second, they still hug her, but she pats them nervously; she can no longer return the intense love they have for her. That was supposed to be a good thing.

Don’t You dare only pat me. Hug me fiercely or don’t bother. What was so great about Your master plan, where we acted out the brutal nature You gave us? We did what we were created to do: we tortured You to death; Your dearest friends felt their hearts and guts torn out; You returned – You, but different – and then You left again.

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