Sunday, March 25, 2018

Easter and That

I grew up in the Unitarian-Univeralist church, mainly, I suppose, because of a long family line in Massachusetts. My father was dutiful about having a church to go to, and my mother was relieved that no fire and brimstone appeared in the services. I gather someone on her side of the family offered too much of that.

Services at our stately church on Lexington Green seemed pretty formal to me but I never had experience in other churches and temples probably till I was an adult. My friend’s mother one time suggested that I go with him to confession. I imagined it as a strange and awful event and hastily declined. As her sight failed, and then her broken hip, my mother stopped going to church. She was not as gregarious as my father, anyway, tho both were well known in the church.

An Easter tradition developed late in her life in which I would stay with my mother while dad was at church with the quadrupled holiday turn out, and we would watch movies. For instance, we watched Easter Parade with Fred Astaire and the not yet trashed Judy Garland because mom loved dancing, any dancing. Garland was young and Astaire seemingly always would be.

I remember finding a documentary about a 12th century painter whose name escapes me, who apparently invented perspective. The paintings of course were hellaious Christian imagery both terrifying and uplifting. I remember in elementary school, a boy told me that God died on a mountain. I had not been so informed, that's not the sort of thing Unitarians talk about, either in or out of church. What I pictured was something akin to Mount Doom, in that famous movie.

For me, growing up Unitarian, Easter simply meant candy, big dinner, and coloring eggs. I didn’t like coloring eggs, or eggs in general. Easter only became interesting when it linked to spring rebirth and revival, sword dances, daffodils, banging the earth with a stick, and all that. The ritual with my mother, we did this for several years, felt meaningful, if not exactly part of that. Connecting life to that thing that isn't life, but is.

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