Saturday, April 23, 2011

easter redux

I’ve said it before, but I guess there’s nothing wrong with repetition.  Easter is a difficult time for me.  I found myself getting vaguely irritated at the world on Friday, Good Friday, for no apparent reason, until it occurred to me what was going on.  Listening to the heart-felt words of people I love and respect as they talked or blogged about what Easter weekend means to them reminded me of what it once meant to me, and how difficult it was to leave that behind, and how unsure I am at times if I’m doing the right thing.  And of course I’m not doing The Right Thing, the thing that everyone should do, as if there were one right thing, or even a dozen right things. 

So eventually it occurred to me to pray about it.  I pray, as in connecting with "what I think of as God" in a sort of shorthand way, pretty frequently.  Usually wordlessly, either asking for blessing or renewed energy for someone else, or acknowledging a sense of gratitude or wonder.  There are also moments where I (metaphorically) sit down before something much larger than my ego-bound definition of myself and “lay my burdens down”—a momentary respite from stress, from feeling responsible for everything around me.  All of those I think of as prayer.

But I don’t very often pray in the way I used to mean the word back when I was an Evangelical:  as in using distinct words to directly address a being or Being who exists separately from myself—in fact, I can’t even remember the last time I prayed that way.  I'm not even sure that I believe that it works. But I did it Friday afternoon, and although it would sound silly if I repeated the experience, it was re-affirming for me.  I’m on my path.  I’m OK with this.  Maybe I was just talking to myself, to my own unconscious, but it worked for me.

But that doesn’t stop the yearning I feel to connect with the many people I love who believe in the literal meaning of this most momentous of Christian holidays (holy days), and who find a great deal of spiritual renewal specifically in the literal interpretation of the Easter story.  I do find a great deal of metaphoric meaning in the Easter story, but I’m no longer capable of finding meaning in the literal-ness.  I went on and on about this a few years ago—it’s not that I don’t believe in the literal Resurrection.  I’ve seen too many nonrational things happen to do that.  It’s just that the literal meaning of the event, the literal interpretation of any Scripture, is no longer what motivates me. And that very literal-ness is exactly what motivates an Evangelical Christian.

But there's no going back.  I don't even want to.  I just feel this .... sadness every year on Easter.

1 comment:

  1. "I'm on my path. I'm okay with this. THAT, my dear, is the key to this post. Yes, you do have a sadness, but it is more of a loss. As the years go by grief lessens, allow that grieving to process itself out. Then enjoy the path that you have chosen.
    Try the "we are different but the same" mode.