I wrote a while back about How the season of Lent changed Easter for me. The main sentiment of it was that Lent sort of forces you to dwell in the season of the resurrection, and without it, you find yourself like, is Easter this Sunday or next Sunday? And maybe this is a double edged sword. Like maybe Jesus isn’t stoked when we’re like, I can’t wait for Easter so I can eat bread again. But I do think there’s something to say for participation!
But I have a particular memory I’m remembering fondly today, of an Easter years ago. It’s 2003. We’re at Nana’s house like we are for most holidays. I’m the youngest, and 9. We’ve all sort of aged out of the usual children’s Easter things. So there’s sort of this sense of, what are we supposed to do with the day?! It felt like most any day we’d spend there, lounging in front of the tv in the shade darkened den. My edgy, hippie, cool aunt cheekily came over and gave my sisters and I Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on DVD as an Easter gift. I think it may have been the first HP movie we ever owned! So naturally, my sisters put it on… and I only made it through half because the guilt of watching it on Easter made me physically sick.
My Nana, God rest her soul, was the religious matriarch of our family. She would cross herself at the mall when we walked by a Hot Topic. She had bible verses printed and taped everywhere. She would play praise tapes on a cassette player in the hallway between our bedrooms to help us fall asleep. She’s why we know every word to every song from Veggie Tales, Mother Goose, The Donut Man, and Psalty the Singing Psalm Book. And we loved her for that! But sometimes you just want to watch what everyone else is watching! Sometimes, you want a little magic! So when we put it on, Nana muttering about “the enemy” and passive aggressively sitting outside to avoid it, I sat there maniacally bargaining with my conscience. At this phase in my life, I could really let things fester. Like, accidentally muttered a white lie and felt nauseas about it for weeks.. And we didn’t use works like “anxious” or even “IBS” yet, so I just thought that was normal. I thought that loving God meant sin made you literally throw up.
I find this kind of hysterical now, but I also think this is the moment when someone could have looked at me and thought, that child is going to have a hard time lol. It was the first time I ever really remember feeling wrong in the eyes of God, like the sanctity of the day was blasphemed by the concept of magic, even if it wasn’t magic we believed in. But if that was true, what about every other day? Did believing this interest was sinful on Easter mean it was evil every day? What about everything else I liked? THIS IS WHAT THE INSIDE OF MY MIND LOOKED LIKE A NINE YEARS OLD. It wasn’t that I thought I was going to hell so much as I feared I disappointed God. No wonder my stomach problems were so bad that I was literally prescribed Zantac 75 at 6 (hello, class action lawsuit!)
I didn’t have much of a reason to share this now, other than that I think it’s funny and also makes me miss Nana and appreciate that my current relationship with Jesus doesn’t make me throw up. You get so used to the everyday mundane miracles that you accept as true. The resurrection was just something I accepted as fact, so it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. If anything, I think being raised on miracles makes you more susceptible to stories about magic and other worlds and all their possibilities. I think there’s a point in your adult life where you have to revisit your beliefs with the eyes of a child, to be properly blown away by it all. And you also have to revisit all the questions that you agonized over that felt like the biggest deal. IDK. I just think God wants us to love each other. I don’t think he’s super worried about the rest. He’s busy, you see. My dad said it best when we were talking about religious guilt. “You know what will cure you of that?” he said. “A good old fashioned divorce.” Oh, Dad. He thinks God has a sense of humor. I’d have to agree. Anyway, Happy Easter!