It’s going to be Easter in a few days; that celebrate not only of egg shaped candy and furry rabbits, but the new life and resurrection.
I confess I’m feeling in dire need of all the symbols of Easter this year to lift my spirits: the candy, the bright pastels, the soft plush toys. And the slim spiritual hope of regeneration.
For many Christians, the season of Lent, the forty days leading up to Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, are akin to fasting during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Except that for Protestants, we don’t stop eating everything, only those things very near and dear to us. Or in the “spirit of the law” practice which infuses much of the modern church, we chose something of value other than food that we want to give up for a period as a sacrifice.
It’s supposed to be hard, as all discipline is, to surrender and think of the sufferings of Christ or of the poor, or others, during this season. I’ve used it (rightly or wrongly) to give up a character trait I wanted to work on. Because it’s Lent, there’s no more procrastinating once I’ve made a vow before God to stop.
For many it’s abstaining from chocolate or television watching or secular (as in non-religious) music. For me in the past it’s been giving up rage and a spate of food related loves like Coke Classic, among others.
This year I honed on the one thing that was my life line as a new mother and over-committed modern woman: the afternoon nap. It’s not unknown for me to make up sleep missed overnight with a two hour stint before evening activities.
When I decided to give it up for Lent, I don’t think I knew how hard it would be or how much I relied on sleep to reset whatever negative things had happened during the day. Waking up from the nap was like resetting my entire brain; defragging the hard drive and rebooting if you will.
For the past six weeks, a couple of new trends have replaced the medicated power of sleep. One is that I am more productive. It’s slightly shocking how much you can get done in two hours. Exercise and shower, writing (like this blog), catching up with friends, spending time with baby; there is no shortage of filler for this “empty” time.
The second thing is not as easy to talk about. It’s the utter, earthshaking presence of boiling, black, fury at rudeness. Perhaps without my system reset, the anger is just there on the surface, constantly getting piled on. Whatever the reason, I can’t shake the annoying things of the day.
Like the insistently rude student, who I can’t tell if she’s speaking to me this way because of my age or my race – because in a society where people are very class and manner conscious, I know she wouldn’t dare speak this way to certain other people in the same situation.
Or the dull, glazed look in people’s eyes when you ask them where something is. Who knew “I don’t know” could be a corrosive, all purpose, excuse for checking out of life?
The women having tea in their office when you come to do something good for their school, who can’t be interrupted to show you where you’re supposed to go.
I rain down cruses on all of them including the incompetent, the inconsiderate, the indifferent.
It’s hard work being so agitated all the time. And I realize the person I’m hurting the most: myself. Being negative is not who I am in my core. Somehow all the grace that I’ve been given in life – and even recently there have been many, including a fender bender where the man agreed not to pursue damages – don’t seem to be sticking to the ribs. Rather it’s the bruises.
I hope for Easter that I can replace these flashes of pain, the sense that I’m so weary of the world and its harshness, the impulse to strike back with a sense of joy, hope, and purpose at the new life that we’re promised.
Lord knows I’m tired of this old one.