Today is Easter Sunday. Or it will be for another 14 minutes. Little known fact about Easter and myself--it's either my favorite or second favorite holiday, depending on how you look at it. Because my first favorite is my birthday, but some people claim that's not technically a real holiday. Haters to the left. Another little known fact about Easter and myself: some years it falls on my birthday. Or my birthday falls on it, depending again, on how you look at it. And one more little known fact about Easter and yes, me: Easter was the day I discovered I had chicken pox--by finding one in my mouth. You would think it's a love-hate relationship, like a majority of mine are, but it's not really, it's all love. I am a huge fan of peeps. Also the Reese's Pieces that come in the carrot packaging bag, it's hilarious. I love brunches and eggs in mass quantities. Preferably deviled, but I'm not too picky. I love Easter dresses, pastels are so flattering on me. I love easter baskets, bows and bunnies--I could read the Country Bunny over and over. Also I'm a pro egg dyer.
And, of course, I love Easter service.
Frankly, this surprises even me. Normally I bristle when someone tells me I'm not perfect--even though I'm the first to own up to my multitude of shortcomings, my threshold for criticism is low. The gloves will come off. And then of course, I am highly critical of everyone else. Also, I'm skeptical. There are a variety of reasons a pew is generally the last place one might imagine I would be.
I have great faith though, and without delving into any theology whatsoever, because that's a story for a different day, I've come to realize I have very little to lose and much to gain. I believe in the power of a church community, of a network of devout, like-minded and good-hearted people. Religion gets an awful rap, and there are people who use it for the wrong reasons. But for me, my church at home has always been a place of inclusion and compassion. And what I've discovered is that service can provide a reassuring sense of stability in a very unstable world. I like the order of things, knowing exactly what to expect. Sometimes I need to be reminded to live simply and live well, to live with purpose and peace in my heart. I like knowing all the words to the Lord's Prayer, I like saying peace be with you and also with you to the people sitting next to you. There is so much comfort in church, if nothing else, because it's a good reminder to love thy neighbor.
These are all reasons why I love Easter. I know all the songs, it's a great big celebration, a pastor would have to work hard to make the sermon a downer. There's call and response you can count on! My dear friend here at Tulane shares my sentiments towards the reassuring nature of the good old Presbyterian church, so we went together this morning. It was a little different than at home, but essentially the same, and I left feeling more peaceful than I had in a long time. So peaceful, in fact, that I laid out in the sun for 2 and a half hours and took a nap. It's a tough life.
And for everyone who's secretly thinking Christmas is better, I've spent many an idle hour debating the various merits. I'm sticking with birthday, Easter, and then Christmas. It's complicated, but the only way.