It is Easter Sunday 2012. I was brought up as a Catholic girl in Michigan. Not to the extent that my mother was... in an Italian family, going to a Catholic school, being smacked on her knuckles for writing a note of whatever. Even walking with stones in her shoes as penance, which was her own personal interpretation of it as she felt she was in love with Jesus. Through her schooling, this is the way she came up with to show that love.
My grandmother, her mother, did most of the raising of my brothers and I in our formative years. I was with her from about 3 yrs old until about 7 years old . And she was a praticing Catholic. "Going to church to pray for all you sinners." She'd tell anyone who was listening. Going to church once a week, at least... I used to have to go with her, of course. It all just scared me. The typical things; Poor Jesus on the cross with the thorny wreath upon his bloodied head. How quiet you had to be inside the church itself as if everything you said was bad and God himself would strike you down if you uttered a word.
I hated going to mass too. The preacher bored and scared me all at once. Shouting his empty words. I'd look at my Grandma, she was enthralled. Me, not so much. Just counting the minutes to get out and possibly go shopping at JCPenney or hit Saunders for an ice cream float. It was so difficult for me to
sit there quiet in church and not wiggle around. I was always a chatter box. My second father called me "fidget box bouey." And used to hold me tightly in his arms and say "contest." Which meant I was supposed to sit there still.....say nothing..........ahhhhhhhhh. It never lasted too long. Seconds maybe.
We from Michigan have a tendency to talk sort of loud. I was the type of child who not only takes really loud but also who had no filter. I said whatever I saw out loud, much to the dismay of my family. I spoke to the emperor being butt ass naked, to the proverbial pink elephant in the room and a specific memory about the old lady at Lord and Taylor who had her lipstick well above and below her actual lip line. Something that has oddly become a normality in Hollywood. With a few injections to boot. But my Grandma got very angry when I made my observation loud enough for the saleslady with the overdrawn lips to hear.
My Grandma, ever gracious and dishonest shoved me away. As we left she said that maybe the woman did not KNOW her lipstick was well over her lip line in a clown like fashion. I thought, all the more reason to tell her. Maybe she lost cosmetic sales as a result of her lips. Its like when someone has food on their tooth. And nobody tells them. As if there is something inherently wrong with just alerting them to the green thing on their tooth. Don't you WANT someone to tell you when that happens? They why don't you tell someone when you see it. We feel a weird SHAME about telling them. Boy are we ass backwards. Or maybe its just me.
As you might expect, I got a lot of negative feedback as a result of speaking my truth. Then and now. How embarrassing I was told I was. I felt the same about their inability to just be honest and truth be told, people sometimes only seem to hear it when I sort of blast it out ...... after failed attempts to keep my mouth shut. At times something bigger than me sends out the words that I swear I won't utter.
This is my path and so it is my work to keep refining my tools or lack thereof where communication is concerned. Hence my desire to make this a special few holy days. Combined with the old Catholic tapes that do not die easily. It was a long way around but this is how I spent the Easter holiday.
My dear friend Joanie explained to me what each of the days mean according to Catholicism. Whether is is the greatest story ever told, or sold concerns me not. I knew for me for some reason, it meant more this year than it had in the past. And I was determined to experience it on a different level that I have in the past. And I did.
It is important to note that over the many years I have lived, my relationship to God and what I believe in has changed drastically. I no longer believe as I did as a child that he is well, a "he" necessarily to begin with But it is easier out of habit to call him that. Nor that he is watching and frowning upon my every move. And since I grew up with pictures of Jesus at my Grandmas, I take comfort in his images. Even as a child because he was after all, same as me. A child of God and maybe was afraid of God as well. So I saw him like one of my big brothers.
I have come to feel that hell is living on this earth with out the image of God being completely loving and accepting. Of all I do. That when I pass in this life I will return back to source. And that all of us will. Even those who are judged and condemned as being horrible people committing horrible acts. That is the God I have experienced to be the truest. Please don't send debating letters to me about this. Truth has many faces and this is my space and my sharing. It is simply not up for debate. And I apologize in advance if somehow my truth threatens yours. "It is just simply mine. Some like the color red, some purple. P.S. I hate red.........with the exception of a good retro shade of lipstick.
So Holy Thursday is the day-night os the last supper. Where Jesus was betrayed but one in his group. I looked in my life at who I had felt betrayed by. Sad to admit that I was at the top of my list. A long list it was. There were a few others, my birth family, the business, my man but really the main focus was on me.
I looked at it. I wrote about it. I explored the lies I had told myself about things. The various acts of betrayal I perpetrated . I just tried to sit with it. Not so easy or comfortable at all.
The next day consisted of Jesus carrying the cross on his back through town. Being mocked by some, helped by others. then being nailed to the cross and crucified. Who has not in their life felt crucified on one level or another. Between 12-3pm, I was told it is a quiet time of contemplation. To eat no meat, only fish. I was told these were the last 3 hrs before Jesus died. Again, please no responses as to the "facts" being mis-stated here lest you miss the point entirely.
I contemplated what I wanted in myself to die. My list looked like this:
Death to my ego.
Death to my rage.
Death too my lack of self-worth.
Death to my inability to have real pleasure.
Death to my hiding.
Death to lies created and spoken about me from others in their attempt to hide their lies.
Death to my childhood.
Death to my accounts against people.
Death to my judgements.
Death to bludgeoning people with my truth.
Death to emasculating men.
Death to the lack of acceptance of me and my beauty.
Death to my "old career."
Verbatim, that is what I wrote.
I had both my boys on this day's 3 hour quest with me. No technology at all. A nice pasta meal together at a restaurant. And even a stop at a local church to say a little prayer. I tried to not shhhh my little one too much, which was a challenge. He loved it in there and how everything echoed and whispered SO loud for all to hear. Maybe it is not just a Michigan thing after all. Once in the car he continued his loud whisper for the next hour.....
As the Gods have a sense of humor, the end of my 3 hours had me in a confrontation with a young and immature manager of the Italian restaurant. I had accidentally left my shawl there and it could not be found anywhere. I was treated so rudely when I frequent this place regularly. I was not sure how to handle it. It was a "what would Jesus do" moment. He was after all dying on the cross in those moments in my mind's eye. And all I could think about was my old green shawl with FREEDOM written across the back.
I remembered a story of a time someone stole some stuff from Jesus and his followers in the night, and that some were very angry. But Jesus said something like: Shouldn't we find them and see if there is anything else they need. Well, I was not that holy and feeling shame about it as well by this point. I had lost my temper now with my teenager who was practicing driving with me with his permit. All on and during the most "holy" moments of this experience.
I talked to our beautiful, wisdom-filled Isabele who watches my youngest and assists my oldest with his Spanish lessons. I knew she would know what was right work in this situation. She promptly told me to go back, find a manger and explain the situation before it was too late and the shift changes. And so I did.
I was met by the young, rude manager who obviously places little to no respect on his returning costumers. I calmly explained again what had occurred. We went back and forth, he raised his voice. And then a busboy reached under the booth and behind it and pulled out my shawl. The silly man did not get the point at all. He had simply lost the plot and a good paying family to boot.
My mind raced for the next few hours replaying the scenario. Repeating things I said that I thought were particularly poignant. And frankly, it was just a waste of valuable energy. But I had my FREEDOM. To speak my truth. To choose to never go back. And maybe to buffer a little of the deeper intensity that was stirring inside of me as a result of my self-imposed personal experience of these days.
The full moon didn't help........the point of this is that sometimes it is the best laid plans. Things happen. And the hardest part was my resistance to it happening in my "holy time." As if it is only holy if it looks a certain way. How ridiculous. Compartmentalizing events like that. I should know better. It is through flow not rigidity. It is not what happens to us that cause us the most pain. It is the STORY we tell about it.
Saturday is supposed to be a kind of mourning. A bittersweet time because Jesus is no longer suffering. But he is also dead and free. But killed in such a horrific way. The yin and the yang of it all. My day reflected this as well. I had two extreme situations. The first was a long overdue lunch with a beautiful sister-wife of mine. Where we deeply connected, shared truths, experienced what mirrors we are for each other and planted seeds for a real friendship that can benefit both of us loners.
The next occurred after dinner in the form of a conversation- confrontation with a friend that I literally knew from age 6 to about 10yrs old. She was one of my best friends as a kid and we reconnected through Facebook. This turned into a very difficult talk as we are quite different in every way now. It is sad but true. I am not saying I am better. I am not special, we all are. Simply it ,became glaringly clear that this was not someone with who I had things in common with anymore. And I took time away from coloring eggs with my family.
I was trying to help her because she was having a situation with her husband. I extended a hand. But Ain't nobody saving anybody here. When things become unpleasant I have learned but forgot in this instance, I need to remove myself from those situations. Not feel I am the sacrificial lamb going to the slaughter. It is quite a razor's edge to walk. To know when something is becoming toxic and gracefully bow out.
It was extreme examples. I am thankful for them. The first what I do want. The other, what I do not want. This does not mean that I don't love her and wish her the absolute best. It simply means she is on a different path. And I need people like minded around me now. I also need to not think I need to fix anyone. Because I cannot. I struggle daily with dealing-fixing me.
This morning. Day break. Jesus has risen. Gone. Free. Freedom. Magic. Beauty. Tears of gratitude. Many candles lit all over my home. TO me it means we rise above it all. We are changed. By owning our stuff completely and fully.
Of course there still is so much more work to do. And I shall. Until I take my last breathe. I shall seek. And actually, oddly, in a weird way.....pleasure seeking.
Again, this is not a lesson in theology. This is my way of interpreting these days that are holy for me to a personal level.