"The Roller Coaster, the Virus, and Holy Week" by Laura Nelson (CatholicMom.com) Image: Pixabay.com (2010), CC0/PD[/caption] The amusement parks are closed, so why does it feel like we’re all still riding a roller coaster?  Everyday when I wake up and check the news, it seems like I’m buckling into another ride on the Virus Coaster. “There’s hope for a vaccine!” Yay! “Infection rates are increasing!” Boo! “Social distancing is starting to work!” Yay! “But it’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Boo! If you watch the news too long, you can get emotional whiplash these days! So, I’m trying my best to get off the “ride” occasionally by giving myself breaks from the news and opportunities to seek out humor and silliness. I wear silly socks, watch stand up comedy shows on Netflix, wear a different pair of earrings every day, care for my plants, and nurture my sourdough starter. Anything I can do to help me distract from the daily news is welcome these days. No dramas or dystopian movies for me, thank you very much! But some emotional roller coasters are worth riding. Holy Week is one that comes to mind. For that, I will gladly buckle up and ride. From the earthly glory of Palm Sunday to the sadness of betrayal and departure that is Holy Thursday. From the gift of the Eucharist to the pain of Christ’s suffering. And from the mix of sadness and humble gratitude that I experience with Christ’s death on Good Friday to the ultimate and heavenly glory that is the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. These are the ups and downs that I want to lean into, especially right now.  Yes, this year my celebration of Holy Week and Easter will look different. I’ll be participating in all the Holy Week liturgies through livestreaming instead of in person. For Holy Thursday, I will spend an hour of virtual Eucharistic Adoration after the online Holy Thursday liturgy. I plan on making a special meal that night with homemade bread as a remembrance of the Last Supper. On Good Friday, I will fast from TV (except for broadcast liturgies) in addition to my fast from food. I’ll be walking my neighborhood and praying the Stations of the Cross if the weather is good. And if the weather is bad, I might even print images of the Stations and post them around my house. On Holy Saturday, I will decorate my house and prepare for the joy of Easter Sunday the best way I can with the materials and food that I’ve got. And on Easter morning, I will dress up in my Sunday best, “go” to Mass, and make the big Easter meal that I normally would to celebrate the highest holy day of the year. I’m not shying away from experiencing Holy Week this year. In fact, now more than ever, I need this week. Instead of backing up, I’m leaning in to remember and celebrate because I need to. I need to recall and recalibrate my life to be in sync with God’s. I need to mark the days of this week and make them different so that they don’t run together just like any other week. Even though this Easter will be unlike any other Easter I’ve ever celebrated in my adult life, I WILL celebrate it along with the whole of the Triduum. Because this Easter, I need to relive and remember the lengths that God will go to so that we can be close to Him again and forever. I need to be reminded of God’s goodness, His power, and His endless love for us.  
Copyright 2020 Laura B. Nelson