Sunday, April 24, 2011

on eggs. and easter.

i find myself filling baskets and sorting through who got this and who gets that ...
jellybeans.  and skittles.  chocolate.  and coins.

trying to figure out just how we all fit here. 
because as a family ... we aren't celebrating easter for what easter is meant to be celebrated for.  and that's never how i intended to live my life ... it's just kind of how it's become. 

growing up ... we were ... religious?  i don't know.  that doesn't necessarily seem right either ... i remember going to a catholic church ... for quite some time ...
and i remember silly things about it. 

like standing in line to confess my sins ... and being terrified as i walked through the line ... having NO IDEA what i was going to say.  and so i blurted out that i hit my sister.  even though i didn't.  and i remember that feeling so wrong.

and i remember being told that my picture of god ... which was just a plain old circle on the page ... couldn't be god. 

and then finally ... we went to service one day and it was something new ... and there was a woman ... dancing all around the church during the service.  and i remember wanting to giggle about it ... but holding it in because as i scanned the other faces ... there were no smiles or looks of uncomfortableness.  there were no raised eyebrows.  no sly glances from one adult to another ... it seemed like everyone else was totally fine with this crazy lady dancing around ... while people spoke.  and while the music played.  except for my parents ... who i'm fairly certain were weirded out ... because we never really went back after that.

there was definitely a pause in our religiousness after that.

and then ... eventually i became friends with a group of kids in high school that were from church going families.  and so we went.  and we joined a new church ... and i was in it full-heartedly.  like at least 5 nights per week i was there for some reason or another.  i went to a catholic college my first year ... abandoned that wholeheartedly that spring ... and went off to north dakota ...

and i'm not sure what changed up there in the cold tundra of the north.

but something did.
there wasn't any grand emotion ... or event that preceeded this transition ... there was just a shifting.

the shift has made me open my eyes to what else could be.  and how there maybe just isn't any one right or wrong ... rather that people just are who they are ... and they believe what they need to believe ... and that it really is just all right and all good ... and it's ok to feel how you need to feel.

and yet ... we still celebrate easter ... but not so much for the religious reasons.

i realize as i write this ... that to me - right now - i look at it as a move into spring.  a nature based idea of the world going through a transition ... into new life ... and baby animals.  and the greening of the grass.  the rushing of the water.  and the daffodills that are peeking through the dirt. 

and maybe that's why the non-religious traditions are what feel comfortable to me tonight as i fill baskets and nibble on jellybeans.  maybe that's why bunnies and eggs and flowers feel ok and do-able. 

happy easter to all of you out there ... in whatever way you choose to celebrate.
it's all ok by me.

and if you want to read something that a friend wrote ... in which she ... much more eloquently than me ... writes about religion in her life ... click here ... it struck a chord with me ... i hope she doesn't mind me sharing.


Summer said...

I absolutely adore you sharing ... what I mind is that I tried to get a picture of our eggs like that for hours today and failed miserably. Completely jealous of your talent ;-)

anymommy said...

Oops!!! That was me!

tracy said...

Oh Jen - this was just all kinds of perfect. Happy Holidays! xoxo

Pamela said...

i love you just as you are.

Raising Z said...

We were struggling with a lot of the same this year.....we too focused our celebration on rebirth, mother earth and spring :) Happy Easter!

PsychMamma said...

Love, love, love this post. And you. And your photography.


PattiKen said...

I'm here by way of Story Bleed Magazine. When I read this post, I was taken back to my own childhood. like you, I was raised Catholic, but I got over it.

My memories include standing in line for confession as an 8-year-old, terrified because I could think of nothing to confess. So I lied, made up sins, so I wouldn't "get in trouble." I remember going through a period of daily mass and communion while in grade school, but it was less about prayer and more about the donut they'd give you after if you received communion. And I remember many painful (literally) incidents with the about nuns.

P.S. Your photography is beautiful.

darcie said...

I didn't know you went to North Dakota...
born and bred myself!

Tracy P. said...

Hi Jen! I think a circle is a perfect picture of God. I am so sorry that your religious experiences left a less than pleasant impression. I wanted to thank you, because you helped me birth a post (which turned into a mini-series) that had been floating around in my head for a long time. Mine comes from a different perspective than yours, and yet I am inspired by your kindness and respectfulness (and that of your friend Stacy in her post), being reminded that my faith calls for that exact attitude. You express it all so well. Thank you.

Sian said...

I feel exactly the same. No longer religious and okay with it all. Seeing beauty all around with my eyes fully open. I too made a big deal of Easter because traditions are fun, memories in the making. Your description of nature and new life explains it perfectly x