Happy Easter! Whew. It has been a full day here, starting at around 5:30 this morning when my firstborn came racing in to tell us that it was time to get up and see what the Easter bunny had left us. As the kids of secular humanists, my daughters love the holidays that involve eating huge quantities of sugar very early in the morning the most. So, Easter and Christmas. But, because last year, in a a desperate attempt to find community and because some of my very favorite people in the whole world are there, I brought our girls to the church where my dear friend is the pastor a handful of times before it became too strange for me to be in a service surrounded by such kind and devoted folks without really, truly, having faith in the ideas being discussed, my daughter also wanted to go to church (also because she had memories of the egg hunt afterwards, and she is a huntmaster.
No, that is not true. I do have faith in the ideas, of love, and forgiveness, and of a larger project of humanity that should, above all, be devoted to kindness. I do have faith in those. I just struggle with the presentation. My own existential doubt should not get in the way of my search for community, but it just never seems to feel right to me. And I do wonder about how it baffling it must be for my girls to try to connect the funky gifts of chocolate, jellybeans, and fun toys, to the lesson of how a really long time ago, this really awesome guy was persecuted, tortured, murdered, and then three days later came back to life, had some supper, and then floated up to the sky to his Dad. That might be confusing, someday. For now they seemed to accept it. It did make me laugh though, when my pastor friend called the little ones to the altar for the Children’s Message, and asked “So, what did Jesus make?” and my daughter raised her hand and said “He made the Easter Bunny”.
I do love the words of faith, and those are what draws me, on very rare occasions and usually only when D-1 asks to go, to the church. Resurrection. That’s a good thought. The idea that, as Maya Angelou puts it in “Million Man March Poem“: “let us come together and revise our spirits”, though not about the resurrection, per se, is compelling indeed. The idea that we can be continually reborn, that is one worth some contemplation. My favorite part of the Easter story is the part where Jesus, on the cross, says “forgive them, because they know not what they do”. Forgive, the whole and oft-forgotten message, is worthy of reflection.
After Eastering at home, and church, we went to school, because I had to work until late. It was a great blessing (and, to be honest, a sacrifice) on HP’s part to bring the girls out for the whole day, and as we drove to school with a sobbing child (she’d fallen on some asphalt and hurt her knees and thumb), it seemed like a fool’s errand. But, once we were there, surrounded by giddy, sugared-up teens, it became really lovely. We took the girls to see the horses, and the baby chicks, and the goats, we participated in the teen egg hunt, which was challenging for my little ones, but the students really were kind and gentle with them, and even took some eggs out of their own baskets and threw them discretely into the paths of my daughters. The eggs had more candy in them, so that was sweet of them, and unexpected. It is also always fun to see teenagers, usually so angsty and cynical, become their inner five year-olds when given some baskets and a mission. One of them even jumped into the pond to retrieve the golden egg that our ingenious colleagues had strapped to a floating log. It’s still pretty cold up here, so that was something for that kiddo from Georgia. There was a great, lovely Easter dinner, followed by more outside playtime, and then viewing of Over the Hedge. The girls stayed up way past their bedtimes, as I am doing now, and we had to carry them from the car straight to bed.
I didn’t have a lot of time to figure out a poem, but I figure it will come to me, as I try to knit something out of these big feelings.
It may seem a dreadful picture of nails and thorns, and a tomb is somewhere they put your body once you are dead. Dreadful means scary. Dead is what happens when you are not living. Sometimes, this one time, this great teacher, got dead and then he came out of it after three days. Mary Magdalene was there too, and she was like, his best friend, and she was so glad to see that empty shroud that she cried. A happy cry. A shroud is like a blanket. He didn’t get to stay long after that, but he and his friends got together and he told them, “Look. There’s nothing to be scared of.” And then He rose to meet his Dad where the stars live, and what he left them was that feeling, when you fall asleep in the car after a full celebration, when you get to skip brushing your teeth, and are carried upstairs to bed, disoriented and drowsy, but certain in the safety and buoyed in the strong arms that are there
only to hold you up.
What did you think about God, when you were a kid? Happy Sunday! This is going to be a great week.