Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Celebration a Cause for Question

I woke up this morning in a bit of a funk. Funk and Mom never pair well and I feel an unparalleled level of guilt with today being Easter. Easter is perhaps the catalyst for my mood actually. I am always torn and guilt ridden in the face of religious custom. I grew up in a moderately religious home, the kind where we said grace and bedtime prayers and put on our Sunday clothes once a week. We looked good going to church, just like the sketch on the front of my children's prayer book. Looks aren't everything though and I grew into an adult more concerned with how I felt on the inside rather than how I looked to the outside world. I abandoned (that word seems extreme) organized religion. That is not to say that I am no longer religious I simply believe that the teachings and principals should be a way you live not something you demonstrate.

Michael's religious upbringing consisted of jumping on the Sunday school bus 3 times to help a buddy win a bike. He grew into a man who realised that something is fundamentally missing from a life lived without the presence of a higher power.

This hangs by our front door. Little rules to life.
So we don't go to church. We home-school our family in religion, our take on it anyway. A hybrid of the religious teachings from my childhood coupled with a modernized approach to living a life of grace, respect and compassion for the people we share life with. It's difficult to put into words exactly, perhaps a photo does it better.

This is how we do it and I sleep well at night, I feel fulfilled with my life each day and I am confident that our children are growing up to be respectful compassionate citizens who appreciate that life is about the 'who' not the 'what', the 'why' not the 'how.'  Then a major religious holiday like Christmas or Easter hits and I am derailed by guilt. Should I be going to church? Am I doing a huge disservice to my children by not exposing them to organized religion? Would we be a family of more well rounded people if we participated in ceremony? Am I doing enough to teach them the biblical stories behind the holidays we celebrate?

Couple religious guilt with the tumultuous currents in our extended family relationships and today was a day I wanted to bury face and sleep through. I don't, after all, do drama well. I believe in telling it like I see it brutal honestly and it's not received very well, to put in polite terms. So today, in the interest of peace and doing something kind and helpful for at least one person, we are abstaining from the usual family gathering.

We are looking forward instead to a casual dinner with friends, centered around children and family. We will guild the day in chocolate and wash it down with a glass of wine and before I go to sleep tonight I will say a prayer of gratitude. Gratitude for the promise of Easter. Gratitude that if I am doing life all wrong, there is forgiveness granted through the sacrifice of My Father's Son.