Celebrating holidays without important people in your life is a tough thing. This is the fourth Easter that has come along since losing my mom in 2019 and if I am being really honest, I only really remember one other of them. Oddly enough it was the 2020 holiday that sticks out in my mind because we were in full lockdown, unsure of what the future held due to a new pathogen circulating the globe. I remember it because I spent the afternoon walking through the urban forest with my dad, a rare time we’ve spent alone just chatting about nothing much of consequence that I wish was much more frequent.
Easter for us Christians is supposed to be a time of rejoicing and reflecting. We are celebrating an omnipotous love that is rooted is ultimate sacrifice. Someone who supposedly died for us so that we might not have to suffer. Someone willing to endure great pain and sadness in our stead. Someone who loved us more than we deserved and more than we will ever truly understand.
For some Easter is simply a secular holiday where we get an extra break from work and celebrate family with goodies and treats and laughter.
Either way, I sometimes wonder if we are worthy of any of it. Over the past few years, I have seen people claiming to have the deepest understanding of their faith and acting as if they know the rules and the advice and the love of God better than most. They study and go to big churches and tithe and toss their beliefs in your face every chance they get. They accumulate wealth but begrudge anyone asking for help. They are unwilling to make any sacrifice of their own interests or desires for their fellow human, putting themselves above everything else. How are we so good at constantly failing each other? How easy it is to forget what started it all- a love beyond all comprehension that serves as the example of the lives we are to lead.
And so today, I think about my dear mum, who suffered so horribly with chronic pain and trauma for so long and how even so she tried incredibly hard to make this world a better place for everyone around her. I think about how she deflected her pain by diffusing the pain of others. She fed and clothed people. She made them feel special. She never let anyone feel lonely. She helped anyone who asked her. She loved all creatures great and small and showed compassion to every living thing. I mean sometimes she was so fucking crazy bu she truly exemplified the idea that faith without works doesn’t count. You can quote a million Bible passages but if you don’t sincerely act on them, what is the point?
This week I remembered her and her exemplary faith with little acts. I took in a sad dog even thought we don’t really have time, money or space for her. I invited an older gentleman to move ahead of me in a very long line as he struggled with his cane. I chatted with a lonely stranger. I mended fences with someone because we all deserve second chances.
And today, while getting ready for a holiday dinner tonight, I couldn’t find any dill for a glaze. But underneath something else, I found a bunch of dried rosemary in the fridge. My mom fucking loved rosemary. It was her favourite herb.
It’s stupid, but I felt her with me just then. It made me miss her, but it also made her feel closer.It reminded me that we can be better and do better with little things. That is what love is.
Alleluia, He is Risen.