On Resurrection Sunday, I am reminded of days gone by…days when we used to call it Easter Sunday. I’m not sure when that changed, but I’m sure the meaning is still the same. I remember freshly washed, pressed and Shirley temple curled hair that was partially hidden underneath an Easter bonnet, pristine white gloves, big fluffy pastel dresses and shiny patent leather shoes and matching pocketbooks. I’m speaking of when I was a little girl, of course. I haven’t worn anything close to that in many years. I remember my sister Audrey and I being dressed identically, posing for pictures as we stood obediently and smiled. My younger sister, Ali, was in a stroller with her bottle. After visiting family and friends, and sometimes church, we’d head back home and eat our big Easter Dinner. It was a tradition and never deviated from – that is, until I had my own children.
Easter Sundays were still special and, while I didn’t buy my daughters the billowing dresses and gloves, they did get a new dress, shoes and hair bows and Easter dinner was often eaten at a restaurant in our neighborhood, and church attendance? Rarely on Easter. Now, my Easter Sundays are usually spent quietly – like today – writing, blogging, listening to music, drinking a glass of wine, catching up with friends or just relaxing. My daughters are now women with lives of their own. There is no dinner to cook – I usually get takeout or order a pizza! There are no dresses to buy or hair to comb, except my own. Yes, this is my life as a joyfully single, free spirited “Empty Nester,” and I’m good with that. After all, what choice do I really have? It’s all about change and there’s very little we can do about change…except to embrace it!
Embracing change does not only apply to the tangible things – seen and felt. It also applies to the things that we do not see or cannot touch. Our spiritual and emotional growth and evolvement are, in essence, intangibles. They are on the inside of us, in our psyche, our souls and our hearts. It is there that the evolution and growth begins. The change is within our living spirit. It begins and is manifested in the new choices that we make, the audience we invite into our inner circle, the boundaries that we erect or dissolve, the questioning of beliefs and blind faith that we were passed down – never to be deviated from. Spiritual growth, many times, insists that you question and dissect everything that was familiar to you – every tradition, belief or fairy-tale that was told to you. Spiritual growth is often accompanied with a feeling of awakening, enlightenment, freedom and an unencumbered soul.
As a child of God, the Most High, I have felt this awakening – this spiritual Resurrection – this change. And like all the other changes in my life, I’m embracing this one, too. There is a light inside of my spirit that guides me and keeps me hopeful and focused. This light – this energy – that is flowing from God simply makes me happy, despite my circumstances at times or those of this world. It’s all temporary anyway. God’s love for us is the only thing that lasts. This spiritual awakening comes without condemnation from Him – only love. I am not afraid of this new journey – this new change. I am not afraid to begin new traditions and break away from those that no longer serve me or bring joy or peace to me, but instead were continued simply because they were passed down. I am not afraid to politely decline an invitation to attend church when well-meaning strangers, neighbors, friends or colleagues invite me. Nor am I afraid to answer their question as to which church I attend: “I do not attend church.” No additional explanation offered. I am not afraid of what anyone thinks about my choices or my life – I have nothing to prove to anyone. I am also not afraid to ask why, when or how. I know that I won’t always get the answers, but I’m not afraid to ask. I am not afraid to not understand things and to sometimes feel confused, angry, and disappointed despite my faith. I don’t feel like a “faithless backslider” because my soul cries out for God’s justice in a way that I can truly understand. Nor do I feel like a “lukewarm believer” because I want to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living NOW…not only when I get to Heaven. I remind myself often that I’m human.
For the past year, words with the letter “R” have been resonating with my soul almost on a daily basis. Words such as Restoration, Renewal, Remove, Revival, Resilience, Rest, Relocate, Reflect, Resolve, Renovate, Reversal, Replace, Redirect, Refocus, Review, Rebuild, Release and now, Resurrection. As I reflect on this beautiful quiet afternoon, on Resurrection Sunday – I now can see how each of those words have manifested in my life, and it has been nothing less than a blessing. This did not come from remaining where I was. On the contrary, in order to change, to spiritually and emotionally grow, each of these “R” words had to take place and continues to do so. I am a wonderful work in progress and my journey moves forward with the best yet to come. When change comes, and it will, welcome it with open arms because 9 out 10 times, change is usually for the best. Oh, and that 1% when it’s not, then choose any of the “R” words above and move on. Happy Easter and Happy Resurrection Day – Peace and Joy.
“When I found that I knew not only that there was God, but that I was a child of God, when I understood that, when I comprehended that, more than that, when I internalized that, ingested that, I became courageous.” Maya Angelou