Despite being raised Catholic, a tradition my parents allowed my parental grandparents and my maternal grand-aunt to steep me in, I have never been a devoted churchgoer. There is too much of the iconoclast in me (something I'm very grateful for) but there have been moments in my life when being in the presence of God, as I understand it, has been and is a comfort and a joy.
Through the years in Puerto Rico when I struggled with Crohn's, and when weakness and humiliation and pain were my constant companions, going to the small and ancient San José Church in Old San Juan was a spiritual balm. Señor, no soy digna de que entres a mi, pero una palabra tuya bastará para sanarme.
Once I moved up to Ohio, I discovered the Episcopal Church and appreciate its "Catholic-Light" (as one Episcopalian described it to me) approach. I have major issues with the Catholic Church, including the fact that women and women issues are so relegated. The two churches I've attended while in Ohio have had wonderful women ministers, which is inspiring after having grown up with mostly dour priests.
Even if I don't make it to church consistently, I do believe in practicing resurrection on Easter Sunday and make a point of going to services then. It's a day to celebrate, as Amma Susan told her congregation today, "the triumph of life over death through resurrection." Aptly, Easter falls during spring, and while this spring has not really sprung yet, there are buds trying to sprout everywhere and even the bird songs sound more hopeful and future-focused. Spring, as my husband reminded me this morning, even as it's in the 40s, gray and rainy, is inevitable. I know this, but it's good to be reminded.
And I love that Easter Sunday recalls this simple truth to me. It reminds me that, as Amma Susan also said, life is stronger than death, and we can practice resurrection every single day we are given to live. There is something lovely in this day when we can believe in miracles, in the ultimate miracle, perhaps, that death, weakness, and decay can all be humbled by the strength of forgiveness and redemption.
I'm all for second chances and Easter always feels like it's a mystical threshold, inviting us (regardless of whether we are religious or not), to see life with different eyes, to focus on the good more than on the bad, and, most importantly, to not give up. Today, despair, sadness, fear, are all transformed, even if only for today, into hope. Which, after all, can only spring eternal.
|Daffodils already smiling at the sun in my in-laws' West Virginia home, photo taken by my husband.|