This morning started out foggy and damp, but ended up brilliantly sunny and warm.
There were a dozen or so colored eggs in the landscaping by the front door of the church that hadn’t been there the last time – surprise! This gave the front of the church a bright, festive look.
About a third more people were in church this morning than usual, in spite of the fact that several regular attenders were out of town. This gave the sanctuary a bright, festive, lively feeling.
My daughter came to church. She brought a friend of hers, the friend who used to come with her when they were in middle school. She feels like it’s her church, I think. Seeing “the girls” in “their pew” gave me something like a bright, festive feeling.
The sermon was on “transitions” – that the women who came to the tomb were in an in-between time, transitioning from despair to joy, and that it is in going that distance between one thing and another that so much happens: their preparing and coming and finding and looking and not finding and being perplexed and then being terrified and bowing and remembering and returning and telling … all this action that has to take place in the meantime, and that changes them …
We talked about it later – that even though “the eleven and all the rest” had dismissed the report, Peter still got up and ran to check things out for himself. I said, well, Peter was the kind of person who would step out on the surface of the Sea of Galilee, too, just in case it really was Jesus. “He had a lot of that magical thinking. That’s how he got to be the Pope.”
Not really kidding about that.
Magical thinking gets a bad rap, and I understand why. It can be dysfunctional.
But not only dysfunctional. It depends.
It’s also a survival skill.
You could be living in a horrible world or just an ordinary world where everyone keeps telling you to face it, to get real, to be rational, to suck it up and the magical thinking is what keeps having the idea of a different world, a better one. You could be living with people who keep doing the same mean or stupid or just mindless things day after day, or you could be a person like that yourself, and everyone keeps telling you “that’s just how people are” or “you will never change” and the magical thinking is what reminds you “you do not have to act this way,” “you could do something different.”
Magical thinking is what roots for those possible impossible choices. Believes all things. Hopes all things.
Isn’t it better to think the rabbi in the Talmud is right, that every blade of grass has its angel, that bends over it and whispers “Grow!”
Isn’t it better to believe that life wins, in the end?