Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter service, or What I Learned From 1st and 2nd Graders...

Today is Easter, and I went to church, like a good girl. I was a sub in the Religious Education class for the 1st & 2nd graders, who are utterly delightful in the first place. They were very distracting in their childishness -- I say childishness here to describe a lovely quality, not a negative one found in adults. Our activity was to make nesting baskets for birds, which meant to put nesting materials (cotton balls, yarn, ribbon, paper) in baskets to be hung in trees near the children's homes so that birds could take the materials from the baskets to BUILD their OWN nests. For whatever reason, the teacher and I simply could not make these kids understand that they were not building either nests for birds or birdhouses. They just had it in their minds that this is what they were doing and there was no dissuading them. They talked about how the cotton balls would be their soft beds and the ribbons or paper could be their warm blankets, so the eggs wouldn't get cold. They also made a class basket to hang on the tree on the church grounds, a ginko tree, that belongs to this class. While out hanging up the basket, we talked about what it felt like to be outside -- the feel of the sun, the sound of the wind in the trees and grass, the birdsongs, the smell of flowers. What a beautiful way to spend a morning.

Later, my hubby and I attended the late church service. I hate to miss services just because I'm subbing in "Sunday School", which we call RE, so we either go to the early or late service, depending on when I need to sub. Today, being Easter, the sermon was about resurrection. But not "THE" resurrection -- resurrection in general. The minister told of her favorite resurrection story, written 2000 years before the birth of Jesus, in Mesopotamia. This was about the goddess Inanna, who travelled to the underworld, and all of nature died with her. She was able to return to the world only when someone took her place, 3 days later (sound familiar?), and then nature was reborn. This cycle, though, was to be repeated each half year, similar to what we know of as seasons.

The minister also talked about the necessary killing of or dying of things in order for there to be rebirth and transformation. She talked about how sometimes you have to remove certain plants, like ivy, from your yard in order to make room for the other things you want to grow. Or how removing exotic species in a wooded area can help return it to what is native to that area, or the burning of crops/trees/grasslands in order to clear them so that they can grow back healthier and more viable. She talked about how it is necessary sometimes to kill off or let die the things that hold us back. Killing off pride might be one example, and letting a relationship die when it's no longer working is another, perhaps.

Throughout this service, I could not help but weep. I'm very emotional these days anyway -- something about turning 40, I think, made that happen. I cry with joy; I cry with pain. Today my focus on the death/dying of some things focused on how my hubby's late wife's passing is having its anniversary in a week or so. Tomorrow would have been her 54th birthday. Naturally, this causes him sadness, and me, too. My spouse's death anniversary was a few weeks ago, but it's been longer for me, so there were no tears that day. Earlier, yes -- that day, no.

Beyond this, my focus was on my entire family, as we try to surround my baby sister in her current abyss. Both my brother and healthy sister have admitted that they are tired, sad, feel bewildered, and realize that when this kind of situation has occurred before with our baby sis, I've always gone to her aid, but can't now. We feel helpless, and somewhat, or maybe tremendously, hopeless for her recovery. We don't want to feel that way. My brother and I stated in unison, when talking about baby sis's embarrassment about her recent trauma, "No -- you NEVER need to be embarrassed with US. We're your FAMILY and we LOVE YOU." It was comforting to hear those same words coming out of his mouth, 600 miles away, while they were coming out of my own.

Many of my friends at the service today commented on the fact that I didn't look like I felt well, or they noticed I cried a lot during the service. I'm sure they also noticed that hubby and I both lit candles in silence, rather than writing out a reason for our joy or concern, as we call it. Several asked if we'd go out to lunch with the group that does so each week, but I explained that we needed to get home soon because we planned to plant some flowers and wanted to do that before it rained. So, off we headed to the Farmer's Market, and I, like my 1st and 2nd grade friends, lost myself in the project assigned to me -- picking out the flowers. Hubby had to do all the real work -- I just had my assignment, and I completed it, with much joy. He built the garden; I "supplied" the materials. Still, though, I think of it as "my garden", just like those kids think of the supply baskets as bird nests.

Kids are pretty smart.


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