My niece and her younger brother have been having a disagreement. Big G says Easter is about chocolate. His sister isn’t so sure. Having taken it upon herself to cultivate a personal relationships with all the magical beings in her life (she writes personalized letters to Santa, the Tooth Fairy and, of course, the Big Bunny each time they visit), Little Miss Lady Bug decided to settle the issue by asking the Easter Bunny directly.
Unfortunately the Bunny is a coward. I have it on good authority that a quantity of wine, exhaustion and a healthy dose of atheism were the cause… but still he dodged the question. That particular minefield was left to her mother.
It got me thinking. The Big Dude, at four, needed an explanation that didn’t leave the impression that Easter was all about the Bunny. However, explaining Easter to a four year old is no easy feat. Death and torture are not exactly approved for pre-school circle time. Add to that the idea of reserection and it creates some confusion. I admit to a few false starts but, in the end, the Big Dude and I settled on an explanation we were both happy with.
Easter is about love. We celebrate the love we have for each other. We celebrate God’s love. We celebrate the beautiful gifts we have received as a result of that love.
It’s an explanation that, to me, encompasses the essence of Easter. It also encompasses this Lenten journey I have been on. This has been about love. It’s about my love for my children and my desire to be there for them, and with them. It’s about love for my friends and extended family, too many of whom have faced this terrible disease. It’s about love for my life and all the beauty I find around me every day.
It has been an eye opening experience. In many ways it has been frustrating. The sheer number of ways we are hurting ourselves with cancer-causing substances is depressing, as is the near impossibility of finding safe, non-toxic products like make-up, moisturizer and oven-cleaner (I’ve decided it is baking soda and vinegar from now on for me, by the way).
On the other hand it has been gratifying to hear my friends sharing tips on finding safer products and asking for advice about what products in their homes are harmful. The outpouring of support in my fundraising efforts has been incredible as well. I am currently sitting at more than $750, with more pledges still coming in (by the way, they can be made online or, if you know how to find me,, in person).
The most positive result for me is a changed outlook on life. I feel much better about myself and about my life today than I did 40 days ago. Cancer is still casting a pretty large shadow over my life but I feel lighter. I am more grateful for the blessings in my life. I have my 12 little rocks for the days a need a reminder. I smile more than I did 40 days ago.
I’m not sure what I meant to accomplish when I gave up cancer for Lent but I am healthier. I am more aware of the need for exercise and for healthy choices but, unlike being on a diet, this doesn’t seem a burden. This just seems to come with a more positive outlook in general.
The Easter Bunny may have dodged the question, but I am happy to tell my niece that Easter is about far more than chocolate. Whether we’re talking about a time 2,000 years ago when a prophet was murdered for preaching a message of love and forgiveness, or the present where people are dying needlessly from toxins in their lifestyle, Easter is about finding peace and love in a chaotic and dangerous world.
This Easter my soul feels a little lighter and that brings me a measure of peace. I hope you find it too.
(By the way – I’m exhausted so I’m taking a blogging break for a week or so!)