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I have had to fend off, this Lenten season, the temptation (though I do not watch much) that comes of the television age: instant resolution.

At this point in my life the rhythms of this season, the anticipation of the Triduum and the sinking into mystery without end (I admit fearfully sticking to the shallow end of things at times, only now and then taking the plunge deeper) have seeped into my bones with the same reality as the push against earth of an early crocus.

And yet this year, with so much seemingly at stake -- with the war in Afghanistan and who knows where else in the coming weeks setting the world on edge, and the relentless drone of the sex abuse crisis draining the church of its voice and its direction -- I wanted a Resurrection payoff. I wanted some sense of an ending, of good things coming of bad. I wanted proof, and soon.

It is at moments like this (Is there a market for a book on Impatient Meditation?) that one can walk out of the shallow end and find something else to do or wait and maybe be drawn into deeper waters.

This time I waited, and even listened a bit. And sometimes all you get is the promise of the long haul toward new life. No guarantees of how or when, no neat tie-up after an hour.

The listening this year came with the help of Jesuit Fr. Dan Berrigan’s poem, “Shall These Bones Live.” It is a longish piece, so I hope he’ll forgive if I go to the end:

One to one
behind the hand
word sped
birds in midair
sipping ambrosia
winging away

“he goes before you”
The broken circle
healed, closed

“I go before you”
toward we know
and know
not what

And so I’ll take my Easter this year with more than a grain of uncertainty. But I’ll also greet this Easter with the treasure, not a little bit supplied by all you readers and friends, of knowing the good company of fellow travelers.

The NCR staff found itself in need of some images of hope in this year so full of images of death and desolation. So we asked a simple question of a rather random crew around the country, many of whom appeared in our pages in one fashion or another during the past year. You’ll recognize some and meet others for the first time on pages 13 to 17. I think it’s not a bad question at any time: Where do you find resurrection?

The staff of the newspaper and the rest of the crew throughout the NCR Publishing Company wish you a Happy Easter.

Finally, we give special thanks to the sixth grade students from St. Sabina’s School in Chicago, who answered our question, and for our young artists from St. Mary’s Academy in Denver, whose artwork graces our pages.

-- Tom Roberts

My e-mail address is troberts@natcath.org

National Catholic Reporter, March 29, 2002