Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Sunday

I am not a religious person, but I'm not anti-religion at all. My mother is a very faithful Episcopalian and brought my siblings and I up in that tradition: we were baptized and confirmed, and attended church and Sunday school for most of the Sunday mornings of my childhood*. After we were confirmed (8th grade, if I remember correctly), Mom gave us the choice of attending church or not. We chose not to.

My sister has since gone back, though this is not surprising. My sister is a wonderful, caring, traditional woman, and one of her parenting goals is to give her children the same childhood that she and I and my brother shared. Exactly. The same school, the same neighborhood, the same dancing class, the same church. I think it is quite a compliment to my parents that she strives so much to replicate our experience. (Fabulous fantastic brother, do you disagree with this assessment?)

Anyway. I never went back to church, except on the few holidays when I was home. As I got older, I started attending the Christmas Eve children's service with my mom, which I love. You've never seen such a bunch of happy excited kids, squirming around in the pews, shouting out the lines of Silent Night as loud as they can, craning their necks to get a glimpse of baby Jesus up on the manger, or perhaps Santa Claus through the stained glass windows. Heartbreakingly cute, even to my jaded 25 year old self.

I have no ill feelings towards Episcopalianism--my time in church as a kid was completely innocuous; I only hated it because it was boring. Now that I have kids of my own I often think about finding a church nearby to expose them to--but that's as far as I get: the thinking of it. My husband is a lapsed Catholic, having been to church exactly once in the 10 years I've known him.

If I ever go back, I assume I would go back to an Episcopalian church, since that's what I know, and since I don't have any bad associations with it. As far as I know, they allow women to be ministers and bishops, and they allow gay and lesbian leaders. Not to many rules, not too much guilt, plus the churches are pretty and so is the music.

But maybe not. Maybe I should branch out and try the Lutheran church. Or Pentecostal. Or Baptist. Jewish. Congregational. Truthfully I don't even know what half of those mean, and the chances of me going back to anything aren't that good, no matter how much guilt my mother-in-law tries to throw my way.

Years ago, when I was living in San Francisco, Billy Graham came to speak. (I remember, it was at the Cow Palace.) I really wanted to go. Not because I wanted to believe what he had to say, or find religion through him or anything, but just because I thought it would be worthwhile to hear what made the earth move for so many people. Surely, he must be a phenomenal speaker, and I was interested to experience it first-hand. I couldn't get any of my friends to come with me; in fact, they were mostly appalled that I suggested it, and worried that I'd suddenly found God or become some sort of extremist. (Really, they should have known better: of course I'm not going to be an extremist, me of the ever-placating point of view!) I think about that all the time, and wish I'd gone by myself anyway. Sigh, a missed opportunity.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this; I seem to have gotten off track.

Tomorrow is Easter. Many people, the very religious, the slightly religious, the okay-I'll-go-so-you'll-get-off-my-back will be attending their local church. They will be learning about the resurrection, they will be singing Easter hymns, they will be dressing up in their Easter finest and kneeling before a God they have faith in.

Maybe I'm a little bit jealous of this. Maybe I feel a little twinge of guilt that my kids don't even know what church is. (This is the time for guilt, though, right? The crucifixion should definitely make you feel guilty, I would guess.)

On the other hand, I'd much rather be at the beach tomorrow morning, watching the ocean, feeling the warm sun heat up my winter-cold bones, raking my toes in the sand. Religion can be found at the beach, after all--I just need to remember to soak in some spiritualism tomorrow, along with the vitamin A in those rays.

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday weekend and week, and I can't wait to hear more about your celebrations, whatever they were.

*My dad, a non-believer, never attended with us, except for the occasional Christmas or Easter service, or the day every year when the flowers on the altar were given in honor of his late dad.


Anonymous said...

i don't get it.o well it was cool.

isimsiz kahraman said...
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