Preparing for the Feast

Ah, Holy Week. 10 days. 18 services. Many groans of the feet.  Many moments of joy.

As with anything that's been properly planned for and anticipated, I find that the preparing, the waiting, is itself a joy.  At many points throughout the week I thought, "This is enough.  We don't even have to have Pascha."  The insistent, eager repetition of the raising of Lazarus in Rejoice, O Bethany; the achingly beautiful Alleluia of Bridegroom Matins; the voices of the children leading us in the Lamentations of Holy Friday as we mourn the death of Christ: I would willingly breathe my last in the middle of any of them, even without the feast.

But oh, the feast: I stayed home from one service to spend a long morning preparing two of my Paschal favorites with some friends (and then wrote about it.)  The smell of spiced yeast dough as we punched it down, and the defeated whoosh of the escaping air; the methodical dipping and shaking to candy violets and decorate the tops of the cheeses: again, moments of anticipation, and not so hard to rinse our fingers instead of licking them, thinking with gladness of the moment when we will share them together.

Yesterday we sat down to dinner with our family.  Marinated leg of lamb; honey-glazed ham; smoky brisket; grilled asparagus with proscuitto and hollandaise; creamy deviled eggs; salad with bacon and bleu cheese; and the crowning glory, a huge platter of truffled macaroni and cheese.  It was insane and delightful;  Silence fell as we sipped Mai Wine and enjoyed the fruits of our Lenten labors.

Tomorrow, back to the world.  Today, I am happy to remain in this hazy heaven of sausage and delight.