For writer, Easter represents gift of grace

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ah, Easter, — chocolate bunnies, a basket of colored eggs and a new Sunday outfit. That is what the holiday was about when I was a kid. It was fun, not as exciting as Christmas, but fun.

The less fun part was the story I heard in church. Unlike Christmas, which was about the wonder of birth, Easter to me, was about someone dying, and that frightened me.

I wanted to feel hopeful when the preacher read the Easter story, but it was hard to get past the horror of a person hanging on cross with nails in his hands and feet. So, I kept my focus on the chocolate bunny I knew I would find my basket and the new dress hanging in my closet waiting for me to wear it for the first time. It was easier to think about that than to try to understand death and resurrection.

As I got older, I gave Easter more consideration, tried to find the meaning the story held for me personally. Since I am a writer, when I meditate on something, that meditation often includes writing.

A couple of years ago, I sat with my questions about Easter. This is what emerged on paper. When I re-read the words today, it gave me comfort and hope. Here is what I wrote…

“The message is Easter is not a once a year celebration. It is a symbol for the reawakening of the human heart that takes place anytime spirit revels itself. Easter is a state of being. A resurrection of the soul, a remembering that divinity, Christ, lives within and human death does not extinguish that energy.

“The message of Easter is loves reigns always even when it appears otherwise. ‘Christ lives’ is simply a way of saying that, of expressing the truth that love is the essence of all things and never passes away. It is not meant as a season to worship a single event, the crucifixion and resurrection. It is a time for celebrating life and understanding life is a joyous celebration of spirit.

“Easter lives in the heart and transforms you body and mind, calling forth the spirit that is your true essence.”

I liked that message because, for me, it reached beyond one event and even one religion to embrace all humanity. A year or so later, I wrote these words when I thought again about the meaning of this holiday.

“Easter is an energy to be lived not a day to be celebrated. It is a renewal of love and openness to forgiveness. It is awakening to compassion and connection. It is dying to life as separateness from all things to an understanding that life is a never ending process of growth.”

Again, I realized this holiday is about a way of living every day, not just about remembering and celebrating during a holy week. That helped me let go of the sadness I felt as a child when I heard the story of Jesus’ death.

Finally, I read these words, written two years ago. They are invitation to embrace Easter and enjoy it as a more personal experience.

“On this Easter touch the earth, feel the air, see the beauty of the trees and know in this season of rebirth you can choose, as Jesus chose, to live in this world but not be of it. You can surrender to your death to find life and know it never ends. It cannot end. Perhaps the Easter celebration needs a new label, a different name. Maybe it should be called by no name other than awake.

“Jesus was awake. In every moment, every experience, he invites us with his life, and his death to walk in the energy of awareness, connection, compassion, and oneness.

Ah, Easter … what a blessing it offers when I look at it as a gift of grace. And surely, enjoying a chocolate bunny is a great way to experience being awake.