Yesterday was Easter and I am generally a fan. We neglected to do the Easter Bunny for our kids, partly because everyone was worn out from a total of four rounds of hunting for (and bickering over) plastic eggs. Also partly because I am deeply spiritual, even religious, in my own progressive-hippie-non-traditional way, and I simply find the Easter Bunny uninspiring.
Following on its pagan roots, Easter is about the never-ending cycle of death and rebirth. It is about rising from the ashes, in big and small ways, over and over and over again. At our church yesterday, this reading from Victoria Weinstein of PeaceBang particularly blew me away:
"The stone has got to be rolled back from the tomb again and again, every year. Roll up your sleeves.Wow. What would it look like, to treat each person we encounter as if they had just returned from death, or at least a long journey, or a life-threatening illness? How much joy could we share by telling the truth about all the small deaths and rebirths happening in our lives, every day? Would we, finally, become gentler with ourselves and each other? Would we then embody the love we all so desperately seek?
He's not coming back, you know. Christ is not coming back unless it is we who rise for him, we who lay healing hands on the reviled and rejected like he and all the saints did--we who cry for justice in their insistent voices--we who love and we who serve...
And so it is you and I who must feast with them, must say the grace and pass the food and set them free from prison and treat each one so tenderly as though just this morning she or he made the personal effort to make it back from heaven, or from hell but certainly from death to be by our side."
This morning I'm emerging from a rough week of anxiety laced with depression. At least I think I'm emerging, it's still too early to say. Yesterday afternoon found me taking an emergency nap to stave off escalating inner tension and sadness. Meanwhile, my husband was building a go-cart with our two kids, because he is awesome, and because he was making room for me to have all the feelings.
I felt better after the nap and a glass of wine, though I drank it with some guilt at the knowledge that alcohol only postpones my anxiety. I felt better still after a long Facetime call with my parents, my original touchstones and beloved friends. Then I was able to show up, here in north Florida with my family on this Easter. I rode the newly constructed go-cart down the "big hill" with my kids, and then put them to bed with a calm heart. I even had enough energy left to help "eat the bad dreams" to settle the three-year-old to sleep.
I'm proud of rallying last night. Against the grand backdrop of Easter, it's not much. But in the interest of being gentler with myself, I choose to see this as one of many small moments of rebirth, in which I choose to show up for my husband, my kids, my life--sometimes even with the gratitude they deserve. By telling this small truth, I make it so.