What do you do on the week before everything happens?

What do you do on the week before everything happens?
I mean how do you get ready?
How do you prepare?
I mean, how might I?

I mean even though I know the story
that never changes, never veers,
relentless with its pounding feet,
the parade, the temple,
the upper room, the garden,
the courtroom, the hill
boring with its repetition
the exultation, the anger,
the breaking, the grief,
the betrayal, the trial,
the agony, the death
haven’t I done this enough – haven’t you?

I mean, how do I face it – how do you?  –
one more time again?

I mean have I been good enough – have you? –
prepared enough
suffered enough
sacrificed enough
withheld enough
prayed enough
am I now strong enough – are you? –
to see it all through
given my all
so I might finally give myself up
ready as I never am – are you? –
to give myself over to the story one more time
the impossibility that is never
what I could have imagined
nor at times wanted to believe
preferring to hold on
to my present imagined certainties.

Is new life possible again?
For me? For you?
And why does it take this story to get there
with all of its losing?

On this morning in the week before everything happens
I remember how my father would wake me in the dark
carry me across crusted snow
gnarled bare limbs fingering stars
up the hill to the clearing
the huddle of family
strangers shivering cold, stomping boots
waiting again for what seemed an eternity
interminable words and prayers
I did not understand.

Until finally,
Al the milkman
lifted his trumpet
as bright rays arched
over dark hills
and I believed
as I want to believe
as I want to dare to believe – do you? –
once again.

Peter Ilgenfritz
On the week before Holy Week 2018

3 thoughts on “What do you do on the week before everything happens?”

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