Whew! It’s over! Holy Week does not always seem so holy for we preacher types. There are so many additional services, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunrise, and then the regular Easter service where those folks you vaguely remember show up along with a passel of visitors. You’d think it would lead this poor parson into a sense of euphoria, of satisfaction in getting through it.
Well, it does. But, truth be told, the euphoria lasts only a day, maybe two. And then reality sets in. The reality is this: The Sunday after Easter and the Sunday after Christmas are the least attended days in the Christian religion. The up of Easter’s attendance will soon be met by the poor attendance next Sunday. Frankly, it’s depressing. Next Sunday I’ll be preaching to more wooden pew backs than people.
But, hey, I’ve been depressed before.
My first really personal encounter with depression was the result of being in love with Carole Memory. We were in high school. We loved each other. We planned all our activities so we maximized the time we had together. We were young so we had lots of time to spend together, to stare into each other’s eyes, and , well, okay I’ll confess it, to swap some spit. My life revolved around Carole. She was truly my all-in-all. Carole’s family moved to Florida and since she was only fifteen they required she move with them. That was depressing. That was horribly depressing.
There was that time my Daddy put me on restriction and denied me the car for a month. I was innocent. I was totally innocent. But the one man jury that ruled my life declared this innocent one guilty. Guilty of an offense I did not commit. My Daddy convicted me of drinking with my buddies in the car, and maybe, he suggested, driving while doing so. I have to admit the evidence against me was overwhelming. The stink of it was overwhelming. The car did smell like someone had heaved. The sickening odor was really horrible. It was so bad Daddy couldn’t drive it. That didn’t help my case. It smelled like someone had regurgitated all over that car. But I was innocent I was as innocent at the new fallen snow. It was depressing. It was horribly depressing.
Those were depressing times. But there were more to come. I became a father, a father of three. Prior to becoming a father I was an expert on child rearing. With the birth of the first I began to have doubts. With the birth of the second I began to question myself. Then, with the third, I realized how seriously limited I am. It’s depressing.
All this is to say I am well acquainted with the depressing aspects of life. If it doesn’t convince you consider this: My kids now feel free to tell me anytime they want, “Dad, you can’t do that.” Or consider the fact that the smell in my Dad’s car was finally discovered to be the pulp from the fresh lemonade he spilled and which flowed under the driver’s seat to rot. Or even more depressing is this: Remember Carole Memory. After she moved to Florida she told me she wanted to explore her options. I learned later her option was named Ralph. Now that was really depressing!
Maybe, in the scheme of things the low attendance this Sunday will not be all that depressing.