Spring is my favorite season. Easter is my favorite holiday. April is my favorite month. And while it likely doesn't make sense, December 21st is my favorite day. I look at the winter solstice this way: Once the year's shortest day (sunlight wise) is over and done, every 24 hours that follows becomes longer. Brighter. More full of possibilities. The birds return to my neighbors' towering pin oaks and start chirping before dawn. The ground turns green again. The sun changes its position in the sky. And my hope for a brighter tomorrow is renewed. What Spring does to my spirit is undeniable. I love it.
This Easter season is a very religious time of year. It means so much to so many millions of people all around the world. But religion, as well all know, is far from perfect. Especially when it's managed by politics or money. Or worse yet, both.
I was recently profoundly disappointed by a highly revered religious figure here in Pittsburgh. His failings remind me that the faith of this Easter season isn't about religion. It's about God. It's about a holy spirit. It's about the peace I feel when I pray out loud. It's about the personal connection I have with the Lord. It's not about church. Or priests. Or bishops. Or the "Church Alive" mantra someone so desperately wants so many people and their pocketbooks to support. It's about God. My God. The God I love.
One of the hardest things to teach a child is the act of forgiveness. It takes a mighty big person to forgive terrible wrongs, to "forget" painful words, to move on past malicious misgivings and distance ourselves from people who aren't worthy of our time. Religion isn't perfect. And often, the people who try so desperately to serve it to us aren't either. So we must make a choice. We move on. Just like the seasons. We find brighter skies, warmer climates, more beautiful scenery elsewhere.
At the end of the day, no matter what the calendar says, no matter the season or the holiday, the singular thing that is most important to each of us is FAMILY. It is unconditional love. It is the comfort of being accepted for what you are AND what you aren't. It's the feeling that tucks a child into bed at night. Warmth. Safety. Love. Belonging.
I don't know about you, but I don't need church this Easter to tell me how I feel about this spectacular time of year. I have everything I need. A husband I love. Children I adore. Extended family that supports me to the moon and back. And a special, quiet, private relationship with a certain man who knows my wildest dreams, my most ridiculous secrets, my craziest hopes... and loves me for all of it anyway.