Easter has always been the most spiritually mysterious holiday to me. Somber in the agony of Christ's death and joyful in His Resurrection. The Spring season, fitting this mood perfectly with blustery, windy storms and the glorious bursting forth of nature, recreating the cycle of life yet again from the cold slumber of Winter. Recalling Easter weekends of voluminous angry clouds and the mighty sun's rays pouring through clouds to remind us of promise.
I felt torn about this holiday as a child - still do. Baptised Catholic, my mother, the artist, rarely ventured from home. Her shy nature, even as a young child followed her into her adult life. As young children, my sister, brother and I only went to church on holidays. My mother, a very spiritual woman, prayed in her garden and as she toiled throughout the day. Reminders of our faith evident in her always present rosary and statue of The Mother Mary and Infant Son, Jesus. When I became a teenager, I wanted to wear jeans and my red, white and blue star spangled knitted vest to public school. She didn't believe in jeans at the time. Jeans seemed to be a signal of radical, liberal behavior and were "unlady like" at that time! She was a fashionable dresser for the most part, except when painting in her artroom. Jeans were a way for me to be cool and fit in with everyone else. So, I would sneak them in a bag and change at school! She told me more than once not to wear them. And one day, drove to school to check on me - yes, I had my *outfit* on. Heck, maybe she was just tired of me wearin' the same thing to school all the time! ha!
Our neighbors were also Catholic. They were a big family with 8 children that we played with quite often in the field across the street. As my mom did growing up, they attended Catholic school. I'm sure that was a constant reminder of her own memories and importance of her Catholic education. So, the whole jean thing did not have everything to do with yanking me out of public school and tossing me into the Catholic Jr. High in 7th grade, but that's exactly what happened and I personally think it's in some way linked! I did not enter the classroom with an excited, nor friendly demeanor -- no, I sat with my arms folded and pouted a lot. We began going to church more frequently. Mom just felt it was time! She'd say, "My kids were so sweet when they were little!" LOL! So, I endured going to Mass on Wednesdays and blushed because I didn't know the prayers or when to sit, stand or kneel. I was extremely uncomfortable because I couldn't go to Communion yet. But I wouldn't trade the experience. It fueled my spirit and opened my heart to God. It taught me about the sacrifice of Jesus. I learned about my Catholic faith and other religions as well in Theology. And because it was introduced to me later in my childhood, I believe it was more powerful experience to me. I did not take church for granted and treat it like an everyday thing. Many of my classmates did and I was envious that they seemed so at ease with it all. I, on the other hand, like many things in my life, took it very seriously. To a degree that one of my friends, a boy, noticed and asked, "Why are you so serious in church?" I quipped, "Because you are supposed to be! You're supposed to be worshiping God!" He also had told me once that he liked how my hair shined from the sun pouring through the stained glass windows of church. And he held my hand once. So, even though I was a nervous, serious wreck, he still liked me. He had sweaty hands, so perhaps he recognized my angst!
We would also attend the ceremonious Stations of the Cross with incense swaying through the air adding dramatic spiritual imagery. The scent is tied to all my Catholic religious experiences. Each time we'd go through the prayers, my heart was saddened, as I reflected on His sacrifice. I wondered how on earth anyone could hurt such a kind-hearted man in the gruesome way they did. I wondered how could He forgive them. I thought about the excruciating feelings Mary endured. Mary understood His purpose and was strong. She stayed beside Him and endured His agony and Her own. Our church had a realistic Crucifix above the alter. Life like and to scale, an ever somber reminder of His incredible love for all.
And Easter, although the Resurrection is a miracle of God, the Holy Trinity, I still felt/feel a pang of remorse. It seems that most people feel joyful. And yes, I am thankful for it. But the fact that His mother, His family, His Apostles, His friends, His followers could no longer touch or be with Him on earth still saddened me... For me, this is a holiday of gratitude for His unselfish sacrifice, His unconditional love, His ardent belief in His purpose, His Faith, as well as His Resurrection.
So, for me Easter Bunnies and jelly beans, pretty dresses and good food kind of cheer me up! And Spring reminds me of His Resurrection, the circle of life, the Holy Trinity. Very separate, yet significantly entwined together. We had a beautiful Dogwood tree in our yard in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Another way that nature signified His death and Resurrection to me; the flower symbolize His cruxifiction. And I felt the tree was Holy because of this.
Here is a card that I'm doing for the girls! It's from a kit I found at Tuesday Morning called Anna Griffin Scrapbook Kit with 275 pieces! Reg. $65, I bought it for $30. A nice value for the quality product that is included. It's gorgeous papers and embellishments are these wonderful colors of Peach, Pink, Cream, and Brown! The chipboard letters are TDF! I'll have to use them on a project so showcase how lovely they are.
Our Easter will be simple with a gift of chocolates and nice Ham dinner. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and celebrate this Holiday in your own special way.