Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Contemplations

My, My it sure has been a long time since I have last written on my blog. I've decided to begin writing once again. You'll see much more coming from me in the coming weeks:)

As yet another year passes us by and we celebrate another holiday, I find myself deep in thought and digging through my feelings to unravel what is going on. I realized, I hold so tightly to past experiences that I often prevent myself from forming new experiences. Yesterday and today, I was overwhelmed. I was thinking about Easters of the past and what made them special to me. I kept having a sinking feeling that this year just wasn't going to be as special as past Easters, yet I distinctly remember myself sitting on the ship each of the three Easters I spent there wishing for Easters at home. And now that I am home, I wish I was on the ship. A never-ending cycle. Or is it.

When I think of easters of the past, my favorite memories include dressing up in beautiful dresses with my sisters, surprises from the Easter bunny(which suddenly ended around late elementary school), Easter egg hunts my grandmother would put on for us with coins inside instead of money, a huge feast including the oh so important pickled eggs and beets and of course some form of church service.

My most recent memories include Holy Week on the ship and Lent, which led up to it. Ash Wednesday, where we would all focus our intentions for the 40 days that would follow, sacrificing something of meaning to us in order to focus more on God. Palm sunday always included a stunningly decorated International Lounge and celebration. Thursday before Easter always involved a Garden of Gethsemane that would be open all night into Good Friday, a foot washing station(which I never participated in, but truly wish I had now), and a room thoughtfully laid out with the sequence of events leading up to the Crucifixion. On Good Friday, we always had a beautiful service focusing our minds on the crucifixion and the life that Jesus gave for us. One year Good Friday also meant a production of Godspell I was able to direct and produce, which brought the story of Jesus to life for everyone on board.

Sunday was always the most beautiful of them all. There was a sunrise service, where we watched the sun come through the complete darkness and sang praises as we watched the sun raise to light up the world. So beautifully symbolic. After this, there were snacks in the cafe(which I always seemed to miss), then the Easter service. Every year this was different, but my favorite one was when we missed the food to hold us over until Brunch and my friend whipped up breakfast burritos for us quickly in her cabin then we got ready to sing in the choir for the Easter service. It was really fun:) After the service was one of the biggest feasts of the year. We never got a bounty of food to choose from, but Easter and Christmas were always days we were able to eat as much as we wanted and have foods we NEVER had access to normally. THey were shipped in for this specific purpose in hopes that we would feel a little more at home during this time.

Last year, one sister flew in, but my grandparents and other sister and her family were not here. We all went to our different churches and shared nothing that day more than a meal. it felt like any other day. I was missing the ship terribly that entire week and was miserable. This year, I asked what we would be doing, and I was told my family had plans to have a meal with their growth grouo and I could join if I wanted. I was skeptical. Incredibly skeptical. So, I needed a plan. But, Sunday morning, I still had no plan other than going to church alone at 11:45.

So, I got up, made a quick breakfast of sunny-side up eggs, which made me giggle at how appropriate it was. I decided I would do this again yearly when possible. I went to church, dreading feeling alone. Thing is- there was not one moment I felt alone. I was always 'home. I actually ran into a friend outside and I sat with her and her family. It was really nice. The service was beautiful. I actually went last night too, but had to leave 15 minutes early and was sitting right behind a pole so I couldnt see a thing. I am glad I went again... it was wonderful and really spoke to me. Afterwards, I treated myself to a Cindys ice cream with money I had pulled out of my piggy bank. It was awesome.

I then headed to my parents to scrounge up some things that didnt make the move with me but that I wanted. Jordan and I played a ton, I showed him pictures I found of him as a baby, and we just had fun. Then, we went to the dinner. Again- not sure what to expect, but I figured, worst comes to worst, I awkwardly sit, eat a meal and go home. Thankfully, again, i felt right at home. The people who were in attendance were all so kind to me and welcomed me with open arms. What a cool part of community. I learm more daily. We ate SO SO much food, enjoyed planning and leading an easter egg hunt, ate some more, then played a game with Jelly Bellys with a 14 year old and a 30 something year old:)

I pulled back into my house, tummy and heart full, and knew I needed to write, reflect on the past, and sing. So, thats what I did. I looked through old letters I wrote to myself and realized how far I have come. I was one messed up college kid, but God has grown me into an amazing woman who is growing and learning more daily. I loved jamming- results of which are on my facebook in videos, and enjoyed writing this. New traditions have established themselves, but realizing I need to just keep an open mind each holiday and form my own new memories, while being thankful for the past, but not dwelling on it. So thats my aproach from here on out. :)

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