Friday, April 6, 2012

Testing Faith

I wrote this a year ago, right before Easter. I found it fitting to put it out there again, on this blog. Enjoy! ...

 "Why is Jesus's death and Resurrection mixed with The Easter Bunny and Easter Egg hunts?" Asked my daughter with a confused and perplexed face.
Oh boy. Big questions.

So we launched into a history lesson. A controversial one at that. We talked about Paganism. We talked about Ostara; the pagan goddess of Spring and fertility. She goes many names, Ishtar, Oestar. We discussed how the Pagan's celebrated Spring for thousands of years before the start of Christianity, and why Spring SHOULD be celebrated. Life, rebirth, warmer weather, longer days... Yes. Something to celebrate.

We discussed how the egg and rabbit are both associated with fertility (Spring)... which led to an interesting discussion skirting around sex, but she got the general idea when I explained it. She did like the story of coloring the eggs, and how it has a special place in the Pagan Spring festival, associating the colors with the sunlight of Spring.

The difficult part in our conversation was when we talked about the transition of Pagan tradition morphing with Christianity, from what I learned, was through force. How The leaders of the Christian faith wanted the Pagan traditions to cease to exist, to quietly disappear.  I tried to explain the parallel of pagan spring rituals and and Jesus's Resurrection. It wasn't easy.

It opened the door wide open to my own religious upbringing, and my beliefs. Telling Julia the story of myself as a young child watching a live reenactment of Jesus being whipped, dragging his cross across several blocks in the town that we lived in and being tied up on it. Remembering his words crying out in the night as he *died*"Oh God! Why have you forsaken me?"

I became very emotional telling this story to my daughter. It was a pivotal moment in my life that shaped a part of me. Traumatizing, if you will. To see someone that I was brought up to love.... this beloved man, and to see him hurt and killed in a very violent way, whoa. I didn't understand it at the time.

As a grown woman, as a mother, I actually love Easter. What I love most about it is the celebration of Spring, of LIFE. Flowers, coloring eggs, egg hunts, family gatherings, FOOD, bunnies.. There's a lightness. Happiness. It's like a long awaited dawn after a long winter's night. I want my children to know what all the parts of Easter represent. Both the Pagan and the Christian ways. Because that's who I am. I am a blend of all faiths. I cannot be pigeon holed into one way.

Every answer that I gave her brought up another question from her. Her confusion about all the different faiths of the world, and why there are so many. Especially when we discussed all the different  Christian faiths; Baptist, Lutheran, Protestant, Catholicism, etc. So many why's. Not understanding.
It felt like her world expanded a little more... or maybe.. exploded. There is so much that she just realized she doesn't understand, and it was pretty confusing for her.

My final explanation about religion to her based on my belief, was that there is no wrong way to love God. That the underlying essence of every religion is Love. That all religions preach for a person to live your very best life. In the end we all learn the greatest lesson: Love is unconditional. No matter what you believe.

I know I didn't answer all her questions. Glenn teased me later that it was quite the Sunday Sermon. Hah.

I want my children to explore their world. To determine their own way of believing. To follow their own paths, their own hearts passion. To not judge others, and to remember they are a spark of a brilliant Light that floods us all.

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