I love Easter, but this year, I was sorely tempted to hole up alone, draw my blinds and pretend that it was any other Sunday. I try to fight these impulses in myself, thought I am not always successful.
This time, however, I worked up my courage, practiced “daring greatly” as Brené Brown would say, and asked a friend for what I actually needed: an adoption for the day.
“Just come,” she said. “Just come and be with us.”
This is how the girl who hadn’t been to church since Advent until last week, found herself getting up early to go and buy a pie to bring and share.
I secured the last chocolate cream pie, which seems to me like an antidote for all sorts of suffering. It was even on sale.
The day was bright and sunny, with only a hint of April chill. I was casual, but wore a favorite floral top, just because.
I drove slowly, conscious of my pie, placing a protective, almost parental, hand over it at stop signs and traffic signals.
I was a block away from the church, in sight of the building, when I was forced to stop quickly to avoid running a late-changing red light. It was a moment before I realized that my pie had plummeted to the base of the passenger seat, breaking free of the bonds of plastic and tin that held it and baptizing my floor mat.
My heart sank.
When I arrived at the church, tears threatening to spill like the pie, I found myself scooping up what I could with the help of a baby wipe, salvaging broken pieces of crust and dollops of chocolate well mixed with whipped cream. I carried my pie inside, leaving my car dotted with chocolate and whipped cream in surprisingly far-reaching places.
It was time for church.
Once inside, I found my friend and her family. She was moving quickly, helping to coordinate the laid-back morning. She looked at my pie, and then at me. “I’m glad you’re here,” she said.
The service was low-key, fairly unstructured and centered around a large shared meal. Though there were many lovely things about the hours I spent there, the most notable part was the loosening of the knots that have been omnipresent in my stomach over the last week or so. The twisting stopped and unfurled like a piece of fine silk, wrinkled, but unharmed.
After church, my friend and I took the pie, still sitting on the kitchen counter where I’d left it, and brought it to her place, placing it delicately in her freezer to give the broken pieces a chance to solidify.
With the help of her sister, I scrubbed my car, cleaning chocolate off of the steering wheel, the floor mats, the gear shift and upholstery. The scent of warm chocolate lingered in the enclosed air.
My friend made good on her promise to adopt me, and we went to dinner with a family, playing with dogs, eating deviled eggs and listening to the sounds of several different generations at once. I soaked it in, stomach still at peace. Even my ever-present headache was gone, at least for the moment, buried in cheesy potatoes and fruit salad with marshmallows.
“Do you want to take your pie?” she asked, as I prepared to head home, still pleasantly full.
“You keep it,” I said. I left the gooey broken pieces I came with and walked out into the night, catching a whiff chocolate every now and then as I went.