New Haven, CT
Easter morning. Yet I have never felt an Easter morning with less of a sense of Easter in the air. I do have my doubts and questions about organized religion, and about the supremacy of any religion over another, but I value the importance of connections to God, or the spirit of the divine in each of us, or reverence for the mystery of life, or a sense of wonder --- whichever concept best suits you.
The thing I love about Easter is its celebration of hope and rebirth. A new day, a new beginning, a lifting out of sorrow and despair, a looking forward. Of course spring is the time of year to best feel this regeneration in the air. It seems strange – unfair or something – that the southern hemisphere had the north’s calendar imposed upon it when it came to religious calendar events. Christmas in the south really ought to be in the darkest days of winter in June, and Easter’s rebirth at the onset of spring in late September.
I always feel some sadness at Easter time. It really is about dying too – Christ died on the cross and it filled his followers with grief. The celebration part – his rebirth, new hope, springing forth of new life that we celebrate – is all part of coping with grief over a loss.
Being back here on my old college campus, where we are visiting two of our children who go/went here, always turns me around a bit in my head. Past and present, my young self and my mother self are mixed into one place.
My grandmother died in the spring of my senior year here, and somehow I have always associated her death with Easter time. Walking around this beautiful campus this morning, watching busy squirrels, enjoying early spring blooms and glorious architecture in the fog, on Easter morning, reminded me of Gramma’s death. She was the first of my grandparents to die, my mother’s mom. It was at a time in my life when I was also about to say goodbye to youth, the fiction-like atmosphere of college days, entering a much wider unknown, filled with responsibilities and decisions with no easy answers.
I think the spirit around Easter is hugely important, whatever one’s religion. It is the idea that death and life are constantly wrapped around each other in an inextricable embrace. They are part of a whole, and we are a minuscule part of both. Our job is to celebrate life while we are here, celebrate the fact that there is rebirth, new days, new hope, never ending.