Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Through The Ages


I grew up the oldest child of five and Easter was Big. Of course to us, it was about the chocolate. We would wake up painfully early to hunt for our Easter baskets. My dad was good at hiding them. He once wound one into the underside springs of a couch so that even if you looked under the couch you couldn’t see it. He put one in the bowl of a ceiling lamp. Another in the bag of dog food.

Imagine you’ve looked under the couch, over the couch, behind the couch. You’ve ripped off the cushions. And everyone’s laughing so hard that their tears are streaming and you still can’t find the friggin’ basket.

Then, time to get ready for church. My parents raised us in the charismatic Catholic tradition, so going to the Cathedral on Easter Sunday was what it was all about. Flower dresses and itchy, saggy white tights and maybe even Easter hats with flowers in the brim. Church at the Cathedral, all reverent and serious. It's not just about the chocolate, children. Jesus died and rose again for you. Because he loves you. Remember that.

When I was older, maybe ten, I really started to get caught up in the whole Catholic thing. I fell in love with the symbolism and holiness and sacraments. Veils and robes and Latin and gold and beautiful, blissful suffering. I love Jesus, I really love him and he died and it's so sad. Idealized in that way that only a pre-teen can.

Fast-forward a number of years to a Grade 12 Christian Ethics class when the teacher explained the theology behind why women can’t be priests. Even he stumbled over the explanation, “Bride of the Church" stuff and how it’s a vital but necessarily subservient, role. It was wonderfully complicated and creative. My 17 year-old conclusion was that it was also a total crock.

That was the last day of my Catholicism. I mentally undid my baptism during the break. Luckily, I’d never been confirmed because my parents had divorced by then and the whole Catholic thing had gone right out the window. I stayed angry for a lot of years. The Church represented that old, stupid life, that life that had also turned out to be a total crock.

Fast-forward just a few more years and I’m 31, now, and not Christian at all. Jesus as a deity? The Holy Trinity? The Virgin Mary? Not so much. But I’m much more reasonable about it, now. I think religious community is important and I see the value. I even enjoy participating once in a while. Deep down, my truths ring both similarly and differently and I am enjoying the exploration.

That doesn't mean I’m treating it as just another day off. I need more. I want to keep it spiritual, tap into the vibe. So today, Easter Sunday, is now about Spring. A ceremonial time to start new things. I took it literally this year and, armed with our new Easter lawn aerator, I set out to plow me some Easter soil, to contemplate growth and change and new beginnings.

Unfortunately, my foot hit solid ice. I may have to wait for actual spring.

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1 comments:

Anonymous Mari...the cute one in the picture! ~ 9:17 AM

Man I was cute...you were okay too!  


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