Easter has always felt special to me. Growing up Catholic it felt like a second Christmas, with all of the treats and family time. As with most things in my childhood, my parents made an effort to make it extra special, almost magical. They hid eggs and treats all over our house and each of my siblings and I (there were 8 total) were given a different room in which we had to find our many treasures.
Easter was also a time when we went to mass more often, with the build up culminating at the Easter Vigil. We all complained of course, but I secretly enjoyed what felt like almost total absorption into the celebration. I’ve always been drawn to the ritual of the mass, to the smell of the incense, and even though I often didn’t agree with what was said or implied, I think I loved being a part of something where people came together to find hope and meaning in their lives. Maybe that’s why I am where I am now- holding a space for others and for myself to feel safe and to find comfort in a practice and community that helps me to do and be better.
After I moved away from home at 18 I struggled with homesickness and of feeling alone. I remember very clearly my dad telling me that when I went to church again that I should look around and realize that everyone around me was probably feeling lonely too. My struggles were their struggles. And it helped me. I felt less lonely and a part of something bigger than me.
As a mom now myself, I find great joy in giving my girl the excitement of finding her Easter basket and little treats. Even though I don’t actively practice Catholicism or bring my daughter to mass on a regular basis, I find this time of Easter to be filled with both mystery and hope. I reflect on what it means to remain hopeful when the world says we should despair. I think about how one remains resilient when circumstances tell us to give up. I do my best to feel my way (be it one day or one season at a time) with my body and breath. I try to be my best, most hopeful self for me, for my girl, for my husband, for all those I know and love. If Easter teaches me anything, it’s to show me that it is possible, even after much suffering, to feel and know hope.