It is Easter Day as I write this. Time to put the Lenten decorations back in the attic: the purple, the wood and nails, the minor chords. This is the day we retrieve the box of alleluias we had put away, and it is the season of joy and light and promise that we want to celebrate from this day forward.

One thing I’ll be putting away is the discipline of writing almost daily about someone whose life journey touched mine (or brushed by, or lighted my path) and made me more who God called me to be. Forty days to write of forty people. And none of them was a “stretch,” that is, when I got to Easter’s Eve, I didn’t have to make anyone up! Nor exaggerate. In fact, I could go on…

There were other teachers, and other pastors, and many more friends, and relatives. And I could have named some authors, too, people I’d met only through their words, but people who did feed my spirit along a shared journey. I might have written of Edmund Steimle, a Lutheran pastor I heard many times on the old “Protestant Hour” radio program. His theology was progressive and his delivery was conversational. The man communicated and did it prophetically. Yes, he was an influence on my radio personna.

I could have written about some of the children and youth of my churches, for they too taught me, and nurtured my understanding of the unconditional love of Christ.

I could have written about my own two children, such impressive adults now, so beloved by my wife and me that I swear that a private prayer never passes my lips without its giving thanks for the gift of Wendy and Jim. But, goodness, it was hard enough to write just a few paragraphs about Joan, failing to do justice to her heart, soul, and voice. Sometimes we are just too close to those whom we love so deeply that without the words of a poet and the music of a great composer, we can’t adequately express what is in the heart. Trust me; it is a glorious and life-giving too-close-ness that is so right that if you gave me ten seconds I could produce tears of joy.

So, yes, I could have written more. But the forty days are up. And I will take a sabbatical of sorts. Spring is coming, at last, to Upstate New York. And the hour or two (usually two) I spent each day through Lent at this keyboard I now need to devote to something beyond sitting in the nook where I write.  Besides, there’s something wrong with my chair. It keeps sinking lower. There are bike rides and hikes to take, some baseballs that need throwing, and some pounds to lose.

And there is a trip to take. They say Denmark has some good jazz.

And then, eventually, in the fullness of time, I will have to write about the next forty who will change my life, or let it be.

In the meantime, I pray for you, for us all really, peace, grace, and jazz. And if jazz isn’t your thing, then let peace and grace suffice!

It is Easter! “He is risen!”

And then you say….