Returning to Future Joy

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-Rachel Jones


Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the LORD. 
-Psalm 118:19

At the Forward Movement’s main office, we’ve been playing the game Mary Poppins referred to as “Well Begun Is Half-Done: Let’s Tidy Up the Nursery.” Over the last three years, we have grown by leaps and bounds–both in our offerings and in our staff numbers. This growth makes itself known in many ways–repainted offices, new wall art made from our most recent book covers, new office mates, new cube neighbors. We’ve also gone through all our closets and file drawers, which has required us to do the unthinkable–throw things away.

I was walking by a pile of old pictures and framed cover art, and found a familiar sight that made me catch my breath and smile. There was a collage of covers from the mid-1990’s. Those covers were from issues of Forward Day By Day that I had seen every morning on the lazy susan in our family breakfast room.

My dad would sit at the breakfast table every morning, in the quiet moments before my mother, brother, and I came thundering down the stairs and read Forward Day By Day while he drank his coffee. He grabbed a fresh copy every quarter from the narthex in our little parish, and used it daily. I would sometimes thumb through the pages, picking out clips of phrases and wrestle with the stories being shared in my own awkward teenage way. The particular series I remember was themed “Christ Took, Blessed, Broke, and Gave.”

That phrase has rung in my ears for over 20 years, and has augmented and grounded my favorite memories of my father. Seeing the framed picture of those covers made my heart sing, made my eyes sting, and reminded me that the mystery of Easter, of Jesus showing up to make all things new and reminding us that the great work of returning our hearts to wholeness is being played out over the entire face of creation, even in my life–down to my life in my office! Thanks be to God for that.

What pieces of your past memories serve to remind you of the real and metaphorical Easters in your own life? How can you share one or two of those memories with your co-workers or the folks you see on a daily basis? You can let us in on those stories as well by tweeting them and tagging them with #50days.

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