With the Easter holiday weekend, comes many traditions. I must admit, though, I am a bit confused. Chocolate, baby chicks, eggs, bunnies, spring, Jesus, rebirth, resurrection? Which is it? What is the actual origin of Easter and why do we continue to celebrate holidays even if we are disconnected or disenchanted with organized religion?
I grew up knowing the various steps leading up to Easter. I would participate in Ash Wednesday, Lent, Palm Sunday, Holy Week and would eat fish, instead of meat, on Good Friday. I believed that we were remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, on Easter Sunday, and that somehow chocolate, bunnies, baby chicks and egg hunts were part of the celebration of this event.
Since I have come to understand that Easter is rarely mentioned in original scriptures and that the word Easter has various meanings, most of which are not related to religion, I am confused. It is as if all of the stories have been mixed into one big tale, but I have no idea what to believe anymore.
I guess that is also why I am less caught up in the traditions and holidays have evolved into cherished days off, where I get to spend extra time with family, eating a special meal. I haven’t participated in any religious traditions, I haven’t decorated an Easter egg since my daughter was four and I am concerned that I haven’t given anything up, in years, let alone for forty days in a row.
Moving away from organized religion has brought with it a sense of guilt that I am not a good person, that I have lost my way or that I am somehow going to be punished for failing to keep up with the expectations that I learned about, in my childhood school.
I have grieved the loss of this time of life, while consciously deciding that it does not fit with who I am today and what I believe. Although I admire those who are still true to the church traditions and benefit from their involvement, I have been out of that religious loop for decades.
I believe that there is a magnificent Power greater than all of us that permeates the entire universe. I believe that I am supported, loved and cared about by this Power. I believe that this journey we have on earth is meant to be an adventure, where we learn, grow, transform, mature and become wise with knowledge and experience, in order to serve others. The Power that I believe in, is called God, although many call It something different.
I also believe that I will not be judged by how well I adhered to the rules and traditions that were once a part of my reality. I believe that people are generally good, that we are given free will to make decisions, and that most of us will make mistakes and hopefully learn from our choices.
Since I feel that any holiday is a blessing and an opportunity to come together with people we love and care about to spend time, do fun things, eat as a family and slow down the pace of life, I feel grateful and thankful for all that we have.
For me, Easter is about appreciating the roots of my spiritual beliefs, thanking God for all of our blessings, embracing the joy and rebirth of spring, while keeping an open and progressive mind about what to believe and not believe.
Whatever your beliefs and your traditions, may you enjoy your weekend, release any expectations about what this, or any holiday, should be, so that you can embrace and enjoy whatever it has become.
On that note, we are off to a family Easter brunch at a local restaurant. How’s that for embracing an open mind. Sounds like a new Easter tradition to me!
‘The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.’ ~ Robert Flatt