easter’s ending? whoops.

Did any of you out there celebrate Easter well?

I mean really celebrate it? The whole season? All fifty days?

Yeah, me neither.

In fact, about two weeks into the Easter season, I realized that I was doing a royally bad job at living out Easter.

After being very deliberate about entering into Lent this year, the Easter Triduum arrived and I gobbled it up. Soaked up all that good liturgy, jumped into the messy beauty of the paschal mystery, embraced its profound and mysterious meaning for my life.

And then promptly moved on.

I had a few tugs of realizing this wasn’t supposed to be the way. I made a feeble attempt to add “Alleluias” to every prayer S and I shared throughout the day. I sang him a bunch of Easter hymns. I dug up the Resurrection icon for my prayer shelf. I tried to think Easter-ish thoughts throughout the day.

But regardless of whether it was the lack of visible Easter signs and symbols around our home, or the fact that the rest of the world looked no different (as opposed to the lingering lights and festivities of Christmastide), I came to the realization that it is much harder to live out Easter than Lent.

Lent has this collective Christian focus. People get intense in conversation about what they’re “giving up” this year. Even folks who consider themselves nominal Christians use the forty days as a time to abstain from bad habits. Lingering vestiges of Christendom in our culture emerge: Friday night fish fries, fast food fish sandwiches. Even our practices as a Christian community are visible and focused: we get ashes and people ask what’s on our forehead when we get to work.

But Easter? We’re supposed to…celebrate? How, exactly? By living in hope, being Resurrection people? Sounds great, but what do we eat? Or do, to make that happen?

Ironic, since Easter is the most important feast for our faith. Everything hinges on the Resurrection. But I think the Easter season is vastly under-celebrated in most parishes and congregations. What a fantastic opportunity it would be for parish festivals or celebrations, concerts or dinners to celebrate Easter. Think of all the weddings and graduations that fall during the Easter spring each year – there are wonderful ties to be made to the liturgical season.

But instead, ministers and musicians are exhausted after Triduum. Easter candy gets eaten and pretty dresses packed away. We move on to all the spring cleaning and gardening. Most of us barely cast a glance back to see how what happened on Easter Sunday morning should be spilling over into how we live the rest of our days.

In the spirit of good intentions and procrastination, my mothering spirit decided Next Year! Next Easter we shall live it out to the fullest! I’ll dig up some great resources on celebrating Easter as a family and I’ll find some great Easter prayers and…

And yet here we are at Pentecost. And I’m not sure where all the time went.

Does anyone else feel a nagging sense of regret (and/or good old-fashioned Catholic guilt) about the lack of Easter-ing in their lives? Any suggestions for the rest of us well-meaning souls? How do you do it?

3 thoughts on “easter’s ending? whoops.

  1. Yes. I know I didn’t feel much Easter joy this season. Part of that for me was that an anniversary I’d rather not mark fell in the midst of this season. It’s hard to emerge when Jesus calls you to new life when you feel yourself digging your heels into the earth of the tomb. The darkness is sometimes safe. Occasionally we want Jesus to clamber into the tomb and drag us out by our earlobes. Occasionally that’s not what we want but what we need.

    I’m feeling more Eastery now, more willing to marvel at the miracle of the resurrection, perhaps because I’ve slowly been taking the steps out of that tomb. There is so much light. There is so much joy.

    Maybe Easter doesn’t have to be about the big joys, the big celebrations, the big triumphs. Maybe some years it can be about the little resurrections we recognize simply because we’ve celebrated the big resurrection that frees us all.

  2. I love your words so much, Lauren. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I’m having a full-sensory reaction to what you wrote b/c right now Pandora is playing this from Regina Spektor’s “Fidelity”:
    “I never loved nobody fully / always one foot on the ground / and by protecting my heart truly / I got lost in the sounds.”
    Your imagery of digging your heels into the ground of the tomb fits this perfectly. And you’re so right that some years all we can do is notice the small resurrections. Like waking up and putting your feet on the floor one more time. The Incarnation lets us be as small and human as we need to be sometimes, too.

  3. I’ve recently been reading “The Life of the Beloved” by Henry Nouwen, and was really struck by his ideas about our own hesitancy to claim our identity as God’s Beloved. I wonder if our reluctance to enter fully into the Easter feast, as opposed to our willingness to pass the Lenten fast, is another facet of this same idea. Have you read this book? What do you think?

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