Holy Week, Les Miserables, and white patent leather shoes.

White Patent Leather ShoesIt’s Holy Week. As is often the case this time of year, I feel some ambivalence: a tinge of regret, a flood of emotion, a lifetime of memory. So many Easter Sundays spent. A young girl in a new dress and white patent leather shoes. A mother with young daughters in new dresses and white patent leather shoes. And now, a faith-full and church-less woman with no logical reason for a new dress or white patent leather shoes.

Was there ever really a logical reason for white patent leather shoes?

My now-less-young daughters came home from a weekend at their dad’s with the Deluxe Edition DVD set of Les Misérables - including the collectible book, the collectible cards, and lots of behind-the-scenes content. I thumbed through and then tumbled across four phrases, all in caps, each on their own page, boldly proclaiming the film’s Eastertide (and practically-illogical) message:



Doctrine, denomination, affinity for epic musicals, and ambivalence aside, Holy Week tells a similar story. The message inherent in the life of Jesus (and Les Mis) is both impossible and impractical (sort of like white patent leather shoes). But that’s exactly why we love it so; why we weep at its poignancy and power; why we silently hum (and pray) the lyrics to I Dreamed a Dream or Handel’s Messiah; why we fondly, wistfully recall our days of new clothes and shiny shoes. Because it’s the impossible and impractical, the seemingly-crazy, the risky, the beyond-belief, the self-sacrificing, and the love – Love – LOVE that touches us more deeply than anything else, that moves us, that inspires us, that invites us to believe.

To believe — even for a moment — is holy, is sacred, is resurrection for your very soul.

Believe that no form or aspect of death can contain the impossible, impractical, and wild power of Love. Believe that it is the impossible, impractical, and wild power of Love that enables you to rise – again and again. And believe that whether you don white patent leather shoes, or not, the impossible, impractical, and wild power of Love is a dream worth dreaming, a fight worth fighting, justice beyond compare, and the hope that changes everything.

It is my prayer that you will know and experience infinite and overflowing amounts of this impossible, impractical and wild Love throughout Holy Week (and always) – in unbridled, unimaginable, unlimited ways; that our world will know the same. May it be so.

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    { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    Callahan McDonough March 26, 2013 at

    So beautifully said Ronna. Touches my heart and yes,my soul. Filled with Gratitude and memories of many Easter dresses and masses, which I loved but no longer have meaning for me. The content, the masses,then mostly in Latin, is not in sync with my souls needs. The ritual is what I miss and the community. I have that now, though different in form, I feel more in sync, authentic.


    Ronna Detrick March 26, 2013 at

    I agree, Callahan. And…so many memories, so much liturgy and richness in the traditions themselves, yes? Pure gift to find the same meaning in new ways…


    Melissa Rohwedder March 26, 2013 at

    Ahhh…Catholic girls everywhere celebrating their God and their faith in everyday cathedrals of their own making. I admit, though, that I do miss the mystery and the awe that those incense-filled rituals provided. We should create our own new rituals to celebrate. I, for one, will wear white patent leather shoes.


    Ronna Detrick March 26, 2013 at

    Mmmm, yes, Melissa: cathedrals of our own making; and yes, missing so much of the mystery and awe…ever searching for both: freedom and ritual, grace and liturgy, creativity and tradition, ancient and future…with fabulous shoes in the mix!


    Brenda March 28, 2013 at

    Ah, and that’s why it’s Easter – and faith – because it breaks through the logic, touches our souls – and fills an empty space with exquisite beauty – like, and more than, white patent shoes – as it shakes up and upsets status quo!

    Here’s to enjoying the white patent shoes of our lives!


    Ronna Detrick March 29, 2013 at

    Perfectly said, Brenda. Yes!


    Stacy Wills March 30, 2013 at

    Oh Ronna! That picture of the shoes brought back so many memories…I can still remember how wonderful those new white patent leather shoes smelled…lol…must be the childhood equivalent of that “new car smell.” Beautiful post…thank you for sharing!


    Ronna Detrick March 30, 2013 at

    Perfect analogy, Stacy! And yes, amazing isn’t it? How a picture summons such memory? Thank you for your kind words.


    randy September 16, 2014 at

    {I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take


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