Recovering (From) Faith: Easter Sunday

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You know, I never liked Easter. I know I was supposed to. Like really, really supposed to. For Christians it’s supposed to be like the pinnacle of our faith, the day when we celebrate what quite literally made our faith. On other holidays sometimes people would point out that it was not as good a day as Easter. I always wondered if they really believed that. Did other people feel that way?

I found Easter profoundly uncomfortable, I can’t remember a time I did not. I was usually dressed in something I was physically uncomfortable in, until later when I stopped dressing up for it and then I felt like people looked at me funny. All the songs were so joyful and excited, they weren’t songs I liked much or found any connection with. I was rarely that happy on the day but I felt like you had to be, on this day even more than other days you had to fake it. I remember my mother coaching me in the car on the way to church with a certain level of intensity “Now when someone says to you he is risen, what do you say?” Sigh. “He is risen indeed.” They gave you daffodils to go put in the cross. It’s strange, I usually liked tactile traditions like that, especially as I got older but these seemed too bright, too disingenuous.

You see, I liked Good Friday. That was actually my favorite of all the Christian holidays except Christmas and, if I was really honest, none of the reasons I liked Christmas ever had much of anything to do with God. But Good Friday was great. I didn’t go to a church that was into celebrating it until I was an adult really, but the first Good Friday service I went to was basically my favorite. It was dark and quiet, all the songs were introspective and sad, it was okay to be quiet and calm and not talk to each other. In fact, it was expected. There were candles and everything felt warm and safe. Good Friday was the service I looked forward to every year and I knew that wasn’t right. I knew I was supposed to be excited about Easter, that Friday was the bad day, that “Sunday’s comin'” was the mantra.

But the truth, if I was really honest, was that I didn’t live in this pretend Sunday. This amazing place where God had apparently made everything okay again and Jesus was alive and I was supposed to be joyfully glad about that? I didn’t live there. I was depressed much more often than not. The world, in case no one had noticed, was an awfully fucked up place and Jesus didn’t seem to have done much about it. I was conflicted and hurting and although I went to a church that insisted you come as you are and should be genuine, there was extra pressure on Easter – this is a day of joy, good Christians smile today because this is what we’re happy about. And I wasn’t happy. And it was hard to smile. I just wanted to go to Good Friday service and stay there, stay with my head down and the guitar playing and be honest about being sad and confused. I’m not sure I can say that I feel like God was there with me, sometimes maybe I did. But I know that I felt more honest, less torn. I’d take communion and feel genuine. And then I’d have to come Sunday and smile and lie.

I worked all day this Easter, it was pretty much like any other day to me. But it was such a relief not to have to do it anymore. My mother texted “He is risen!” to me at 8am. I didn’t text back. It was the happiest Easter I’ve ever had.

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