Well, here we are again at the Annual Festival of Confusing the Children.
I watched a clip of a child trying to figure the whole thing out the other day. She asked her dad, "So are Jesus and the Easter Bunny best friends, or what?"
We all know by now that Easter is a Christianization of a pagan spring celebration, thus the eggs and bunnies. (Wink, wink, say no more.)
I have been wracking my brain trying to remember how this was explained to me in my Christian home while I was painting hard-boiled eggs and anticipating snarfing down my annual chocolate bunny.
I imagine it must have gone something like this:
Me: Yo, 'sup with the bunny theme? (Okay, that might be a stretch. I'll start again.)
Me: Why do we get chocolate at Easter?
Older sister: Don't rock the boat.
Me: But seriously, what does chocolate have to do with Easter?
Sis: What does chocolate have to do with anything? Stop bugging me.
Me: Hey, big brother, why do we paint eggs at Easter?
Older Brother: Um, because the eggs remind of us, um. Go away.
Me: Mom, what do bunnies have to do with Easter?
Mom: Maybe there were bunnies at Golgotha. Go take a bath.
Me: Dad, why does the Easter Bunny give us treats to celebrate Jesus dying?
Dad: We're not celebrating that. We're celebrating the resurrection.
Me: With chocolate?
Dad: Yes, that's right. With chocolate. Chocolate makes you happy, right?
Dad: Do bunnies make you happy?
Me: Well, yes. Except when you butcher them and we eat them.
Dad: Bad example. Forget the bunnies. Go back to the treats that make you happy.
Dad: Jesus rising from the dead makes us happy right?
Dad: There you go. Go to bed.
Whatever you believe and however you explain it, Happy Easter!
My partner, Shanny, walked into the house yesterday and raised her arms above her head. “Look at this score!” she cried with jubilation.
There in her hands, held aloft by pure joy, was a pile of newspapers.
Let me pause here and allow your imaginations to sort through the possibilities.
Was she referring to a sporting event? Nope.
Was someone we know on the front page, you wonder. Nope.
Had some ground-breaking innovation been launched into the world through the media? A medical breakthrough? A political triumph? Nope, nope, nope.
Let me stop you right there. The content of the newspapers in question was not the hot issue. (Never is, really, given our “daily news” arrives on-island a day after it is news.)
Let us return to the scene.
“Look at this score!” Shanny cried, and dropped the pile of papers into the cardboard box beside the woodstove where we keep the paper for starting the fire.
Don’t laugh; if you’re cold enough and you can’t find any paper in the morning, you too might consider burning cash. (The new plasticized money probably wouldn’t burn very well, though.)
Anyhoooo, as I witnessed her joy over being at the store at just the right moment, I got to thinking about simple pleasures. Well, not a pile of old newspapers necessarily, but the little things in life.
This morning, as I made the fire, cavalierly scrunching page after page of newsprint and feeling decadent and opulent, I wondered again about the little things that can give us joy if we slow down and notice them. So, I tried to pay more attention on my walk with Jed today. I was rewarded with a rare golden eagle sighting.
But I also noticed a lot of things I see, hear, and smell every day, but often fail to appreciate. I won’t list them - that might cause a riot with readers still up to their bra straps in snow.
Point is, there are all kinds of moments in my day – and yours – that can inspire wonder and joy if we are paying attention.
I think now more than ever, we need to slow down and focus on the little things that bring us joy and I’ll tell you why. It’s not an epiphany, it’s just common sense; when we live in joy, we contribute joy to our world, just as we contribute fear when we live in fear or anger when we live in anger. I don’t want to get all 60’s on you, but what the world needs now . . . you know the rest. We need the love, people. And the joy.
When asked what the purpose of life is, the Dalai Lama replied that it is to be happy. Imagine this world, if everyone’s number one goal was to be happy. Not instant gratification happy. I think he meant contentment happy. (I also wonder if I am happy because I am content, or if I am content because I am happy? Chicken? Egg?)
'Point is, if everyone was committed to feeling content and happy, imagine the shift in the world. If, rather than getting up and watching the world going to hell in a hand basket on CNN, you did something positive in your little corner of the world, what then? Ghandi said we must be the change we want to see in the world. I can’t volunteer for the International Red Cross or run for political office. I sometimes feel like I can’t do anything about the condition of this crazy world. I can’t do much, but I can get up every day and try my best to send joy into my world instead of fear or anger or criticism. Even when, like today, I have a cold and feel more like a mucus factory than a human being. Even when, like today, I am discouraged by unresponsive editors and piling rejection letters. Even when, like today, I am nervous about a job interview. Even when I carry the sadness of others in my heart, I will try to find the little miracles in my day that spark my joy, even for a moment.
Because I need it.
Because my world needs it.