Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Reflections

It's been awhile since I wrote anything in this blog; mainly because I was hesitant to write much of anything since one family member has a tendency to 'rat me out' to my aunt on the things I post.  Some of my blogs have really unnerved her, so I took a break from it.  In fact, I wound up taking a break from a lot of things in Life due to fighting challenges to my spirit, psyche, and emotions.  Loss of jobs, continued mobility issues from the bone spurs in my knees, my birth mother's continuing psychosis, and a deep sense of loss from Daddy's death in 2012 and the loss of my step mother last September put me in a pretty big depression.  However, things in life are looking up, and I find myself facing another Easter without Daddy.    It makes me sad in thinking of another Easter without him, but I also remember how special Easter was to him. That's why I'm writing this blog, to share with you some things about what Easter was to me.

You see, even as a child, I knew that Easter was more than jelly beans, colored eggs, and chocolate bunnies.  It was the advent of Spring - even if sometimes we were shoving snow on Easter Sunday - and it was a time of renewal.  This Sunday  marks the 2016th year since Christ rose from the tomb after sacrificing himself for our sins.   I won't post the story of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus here, the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) do a better job of it than I can.

Those of you who know me know that my father, Ivan Blaine Emily, spent all of his adult life as a minister in the United Methodist Church.   Easter was always an event to celebrate at our house, even more so than Christmas.  Easter was 'our' family holiday in a sense, as it was the one holiday not spent at one or the other grandparents'.  We spent it at home, and at church.  

Easter Sunday was a busy one for Daddy, beginning with the Sunrise Service that celebrated the Resurrection of Christ - and the promise His death means to all who believe in Him - that He died for our sins.  Whether we were living in a large city or a small rural community, the joy of Easter was felt by all who entered the sanctuary.  There were always the familiar faces of those who came to worship each week, and new faces of visitors and the 'Christmas/Easter' church goers, dressed in their new Easter finery.  Lillies and palm leaves would adorn the altar, and everyone seemed happier on that day.

We weren't alone in primping in new Easter clothes.  Both my birth mother and myself would get new dresses, Daddy usually just wore a new shirt, as his robe covered everything else.  Not only would we get new cothes,  but he would give her an orchid corsage and a carnation corsage to me.  Many Easter Sundays, that cool (because the corsages were kept in the refrigerator so they wouldn't wilt), white flower would remind me that Spring was just around the corner.  Many times during Easter services, my nose would descend to the heart of the corsage to breathe in the aroma of Spring to come, of newness, of freshness, of Hope.

After the Sunrise service, we would have Easter breakfast.  Sometimes it was at the church, provided by the women's society.  Other times, we would go back to the parsonage for hot cross buns and cereal, then back to church for the regular service.

Following the regular morning service, which included children's time at the altar where Daddy would tell us kids a tale of Jesus' life, we would go home for the traditional Easter egg hunt that Daddy would set up before waking me for the day,  After the egg hunt, we would sit down to dinner (and why on Earth we Protestants celebrate Easter with ham I'll never understand.  After all, Jesus was Jewish and they avoid pork!).  The kitties even got something special to eat for Easter.  Of course the Easter eggs I hunted were those that my birth mother and I colored the day before, and would become deviled eggs for supper durng the week.  There were also plastic eggs filled with jellybeans and chocolate.  There was usually a stuffed critter or a book for me as well.

After all that activity, Daddy would be worn out, and often fell asleep in his chair while we were watching a holiday movie like King of Kings or Greatest Story Ever Told.  He might've been worn out, but he was content in the knowledge that he had - once again - led his small flock to the word of God. In later years, we often listened to - or watched - the Cubbies on television when Easter fell in late April.

Sure, Christmas was special, because in order to die for us, Christ had to be born, but Easter is considered to be the most important spiritual holiday, because of Jesus' sacrifice for us.

It's been nearly four years since Daddy passed on to Eternal Life, but I miss him more on this holiday than any other.  Daddy never let his faith in God falter - despite the trials and tribulations that came his way in this life.  Though he had three recurrances of prostate cancer, divorce after 26 years of marriage to my birth mother, and an adult daughter who made unfortunate and devastating choices, he didn't lose his faith.  .

From the day Daddy accepted the call to preach, he felt that in order to lead the people to the Lord, he needed to set the example.  He never smoked, he didn't drink, and he didn't curse - except for one memorial day when he dropped a heavy metal world radio on his foot and said a word that made an eight year old's eyes widen with fear that God would strike down her Daddy for taking the Lord's name in vain.  He believed in having his facts right to support his sermons, so he studied and read from many resources.  He believed in being clean of body, mind, and spirit. He prayed for our Presidents, even when he felt those men were weak.  He visited the sick and the troubled, because it gave them comfort.  If only he'd been given some of that comfort during his final illness; which is one of the reasons I no longer believe in church.    

When I was a child, I often envied the church kids, because his tone of voice was often gentler with them than when he spoke to me.  With the wisdom that comes from 20/20 hindsight, I now know that he loved me more than the church kids because I was his child.  He held me to a higher standard than other people's kids, and sometimes he had to be the disciplinarian instead of the friend.  .The hardest thing he ever had to do was to deny all help to me - except for prayer - for several months in 1986 because of the choices I'd made.  And later, like the prodigal son was welcomed back by the father he'd let down, my father welcomed me back into the family.

I have no doubt that Daddy is in Heaven now, rewarded for his good and faithful service in ways that the Indiana Methodist Conference never did.  And even though I miss him during this time of celebration, I know that he's not really gone, it's just that I can't see him, or hear his voice, and that's the part that saddens me.  But I know he's in a better place, and still doing what Daddies do for their children, looking out for me.    Nothing reminds of that more than a song by Ramin Karimloo, entitled Constant Angel.  I believe that Daddy is a constant angel in my life.  Just as the love of God never dies, the love of a parent for their child and vice versa doesn't die just because life on this Earth comes to an end.  I may not have the belief in church since Daddy died, but I still have my belief in God and the Son who died to give us all eternal life.  Every time I take a ride in God's world on Tig, the Honda, I'm reminded of His glory.

So I leave you with this song from Mr. Karimloo.  If you, too, are mourning a loss of a loved one - whether it's recent or years past - may it give you the comfort it gives me.  If you're a parent, perhaps you'll see yourself as the Constant Angel to your children; and whether you're a grown child or still growing, you'll see that Constant Angel in your parents.

Whether you believe in the reason for Easter as a Catholic or Protestant - or don't believe in Easter for your own religious reasons, may Your God go with you.


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