Last night’s post was a quickie… punched out on my phone in the dark, because I had thoughts that wouldn’t let me be until I gave them release.
I wanted to expand on those thoughts a little, in the light of day, with two cups of coffee in my system and a full night of sleep behind me.
It feels so strange, now, to go through the religious holidays with no faith behind them. But Easter has always been a strange one for me.
I remember as a kid, doing a couple of Easter egg hunts. I remember one time a neighbor took me to church with her. I wore a yellow dress and yellow ribbons in my hair. I got Easter baskets, and used the plastic eggs for months afterward in m pretend play. Every year, until the year he died, my father would buy me Cadbury cream filled eggs. Even after I grew up and moved to California, he bought them and sent them to me. The first Easter he was gone, I bought my own eggs, and ate them and cried.
I made an Easter basket for my husband the first year we were married. He didn’t understand why I made it for him. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but my husband has Asperger’s. Holidays are different when you are on the spectrum. I think I ate most of the chocolate myself. When we were going to church regularly, I made good friends with a lady named Dorothy, and she would send me Easter cards every year. I still have every one of them, as well as the other cards she would send me, and I love running across them when I rifle through my desk for oddments and things.
But, Easter. Even as a Christian, it was the hardest holiday for me to swallow. I could get my head around the idea of a god-child come to Earth. That is a theme common to many beliefs. But why did he die, why was that belief central to my soul’s eternal life? What did it have to do with rabbits and tulips and Chocolate eggs?
And before you fill my inbox with the history of Easter, and Ostara, and how the early Christian church bastardized all those Pagan holidays, I want to say I know all of that already, so don’t bother.
Even as religious folks, we didn’t ever do Easter baskets for the kids. I didn’t want to confuse them. I wanted them to know it was a religious holiday. I would get them a chocolate bunny, and we’d go to Easter brunch at the church, and services after. I’d feel joyful, but mostly because it was spring, and it was the first of the warm weather and time to get out and play in the dirt.
At some point, we stopped going to Easter services. Husband would find someone else to run the sound system at church, and we’d spend the day hiking in the Gorge and avoiding the hugs crowds of twice-a-year faithful. Why go to church and pretend like you want to be there when you can go outside and enjoy the world the Lord made specifically for you to enjoy it?
Looking back, I wonder if that was the beginning of the cracks in my faith. I wonder if being unable to swallow the idea of the resurrection made me start to choke on all of it, the birth of the messiah, his death, and the necessity of faith in him.
And so, this year, at the hair salon and the grocery store, when asked what we do for Easter, for the first time I said, “We don’t celebrate, really.” and live with the uncomfortable silence. And on a bright Spring morning, 70 degrees in the shade, 600 feet above sea level, I rejoice in the first small purple flowers, the fairy rainbows below dripping cliff sides, and the joy in my children’s laughter, as we explore the world, born anew after a long wet winter.