One Thursday in Lent I made a trip to my doctor's office. Unbeknownst to me, she was really, really behind schedule. As the minutes ticked by in that perpetual waiting room—and probably right at the moment when I would have lost my patience—an older woman sitting across from me offered an apology, for it was her daughter who was in the appointment ahead of me.
"I'm so sorry to keep you waiting," she said. "We drove five hours just to get here. There's no one in our small town who can treat her."
And then,"She waited a year just to be seen."
And then, "My daughter lives with me, you know. She's too sick to care for herself."
And then, "My husband died of Alzheimers over a year ago. It's just really hard sometimes . . . ."
Over the course of a half hour I listened as she allowed the worry and grief and loneliness painted on her face to be given a voice.
As I reflect on that experience more, I realize that her experience wasn't that different from the worry, grief, and loneliness that has plagued my heart at times, and that must have also plagued Saint Mary Magdalene's heart upon her arrival at our Lord's tomb on Easter Sunday:
They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him.
Haven't we all voiced some likeness of her grief in the past, Sisters? Haven't we all cried out:
As if that wasn't hard enough, Lord, this . . . this is too much to bear.
And yet moments later Saint Mary Magdalene meets an Angel who reveals what Jesus had promised during His teaching:
Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus. He has been raised, just as He said.
We are the Mary Magdalenes of the world, sisters: broken, and yet redeemed. Sinful, and yet called to holy perfection. Grieving, and yet filled with joy.
For the rest of our lives we will live, minute-by-minute, in the reality of both the Cross and the Resurrection. Knowing that Christ has died for us and that He has redeemed the world this Easter Sunday won't take away our suffering. But His resurrection can teach us that He loves us so intimately to be present in the midst of all of it, evening in a doctor's waiting room.
Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for all the women of Blessed is She this Easter Sunday. Amen.
Karen Schultz is a Birth Doula who hails from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, where she is often found in or near one of them. You can find out more about her here.