Ahhhh Easter. A time to reflect on the sacrifices that Jesus Christ made for us. To celebrate his resurrection on the third day. Or a welcome reprieve from being gainfully employed? Yes. Easter means many things to many people. As I sat to write this article, I reminisced on all Easter has represented for me over the years. I’m kind of really starting to question my Catholicism.
As a seven-year-old, I didn’t really get it. My wide-eyed innocence did not extend to belief in the Easter Bunny though. I was way too cool for that. Especially when I saw him remove his head at an Easter Egg hunt, revealing the host hotel’s bartender, Sebastian. With confirmation of my suspicions firmly implanted in my mind, I continued with the pleasantries of searching out coloured eggs on the lawn, which I of course truly believed came from actual chickens. Surely some of our readers believed pink eggs were real. No? Just me?
As a teenager at secondary school Easter signaled the beginning of a mini vacation. Two weeks away from the oh-so-arduous life of assignments, extracurricular activities, and a full day spent with friends. You remember those ‘tough’ times right?
Adulthood ushered in greater understanding about the ultimate sacrifice signified by Easter. In my case, it was the renouncing of my beloved chicken for the much-dreaded mackerel. Viewed by many as the scourge of the sea (okay maybe just by me), I found it highly unpalatable, indigestible, and there was that huge issue of it just not being chicken. I mean, hadn’t I suffered enough by giving up (insert various vices here) for Lent?
Speaking of Lent, what is considered a true sacrifice? Does one outweigh the other? Is it acceptable to ‘side eye’ the friend who has professed to give up sex for Lent, when it is common knowledge that activity had ceased well before that Ash Wednesday? Is foregoing Facebook really akin to the torture of no dairy? Are cheat days allowed?
But seriously. Easter did involve torture and unfortunately, many can only recall what was portrayed in the Mel Gibson helmed blockbuster Passion of the Christ. For Christians, this is a solemn time filled with prayer and penance, which will always be inadequate in the face of the unspeakable persecution and anguish endured by the Son.
I tried to explain this to my twin cousins last Easter. At age four, going on forty, Natalie and Sophia are as precocious as they get. As I gave them my ‘what Easter truly means’ spiel, they stared back at me blankly. Time for a new tactic.
“So what about the Easter Bunny?” I asked.
“That’s not real!” they giggled in unison.
I nodded proudly. Then a thought crossed my mind.
“What about Easter eggs?” I put forth tentatively.
This resulted in gales of laughter. “That’s not real either”, responded Natalie, complete with an exaggerated eye roll.
Here came the internal struggle. Did I applaud them for their powers of discernment or accept the fact that at four years old, they were clearly ahead of my seven-year-old self?
“You mean you’ve never seen a pink chicken?” I asked incredulously
A twinge of doubt flashed across their tiny faces and I smiled.
What? Did you expect me to take the high road?
I did not give up my pride for Lent.