So it’s Good Friday and all, and as usual, you won’t find me at a church service. In fact, Louis C. K.’s latest stand-up show comes to mind as he jokes about how the Christians won. If you don’t believe him, he asks, then what year is it?
This sums up a lot for me in terms of power and dominance in the world.
I am sure there are many wonderful churches out there, but there are also many other religions that I find to be just as valid as Christianity. Not to mention, my husband’s family is Jewish, which means my son is part Jewish as well.
Nonetheless, Easter weekend is symbolic and meaningful to me. At the risk of sounding perhaps even more heretical to some, I can relate strongly to the idea of bearing a cross. I think most of us can. Each of us has a cross we have had to bear for whatever reason. For me, I can think of more than one, but my place in my family comes to mind. For as long as I can remember, I have been the black sheep, at least in my immediate family.
Without rhyme or reason, I was always the one who was different. I was the one who struggled more with my parents’ divorce; I was the one who didn’t play sports, who had to work super hard to make honor roll; I was the hippie who preached about vegetarianism, the one who worked in a national park, the one to move out west. I was the poet, the dreamer, the one holding change out for homeless people. My family members were good, conservative Republicans who believed in the realities of life, in pulling yourself up from the bootstraps. Any quest for meaning was futile to them. The answers were already understood. But by the time I reached college, I knew for sure I just didn’t understand that everything was already understood. I didn’t know anything. There were an endless amount of possibilities, and I wanted to explore the world. To experience different American cultures. To find my place in this great big universe.
I can’t say I have found that place necessarily. But I have learned to put down the heavy weight of being different. At least, I am not carrying it like a martyr anymore (most of the time). At 44, I am more interested in feeling good than in proving anything to anyone. Instead of bearing my “uniqueness” as a personal hardship, marked as the family outlier, I wear it more like a badge, like I have honorary status of some kind. It’s just too time-consuming and exhausting to live any other way.
This is what Easter is to me. It’s the rebirth of ourselves, the ability to see ourselves in a new light, to let go of the past and what no longer serves us. It’s the remembrance of me.