The Easter long weekend is always a weekend that revolves around family for us. When I was a kid I remember it always starting on the Friday when we would attend mass with nonna and the women in my family while the boys went off to watch the local footy. I have so many memories sitting in the church for two hours, nonna attentively engaged and the rest of us counting the pillars on the ceiling or the stain glass windows. The mass would always be followed by a seafood feast for dinner (with the Good Friday Appeal playing in the background of course). I absolutely love seafood so I have to say that Good Friday is actually one of my favourite religious celebrations. After dinner we would all have the first taste of nonna’s traditional lemon custard cake and pastiera. Easter Saturday would usually just be a day at home, just hanging around with the family gearing up for all the food to be had on Easter Sunday.
When Easter Sunday rolled around we would wake up to a little Easter egg hunt around the house followed by nonna’s Easter biscotti for breakfast. Mass would be attended early so that we could go help nonna get ready. Most of Easter Sunday would be spent around the table. The room filled with chatter, laughter and a never-ending amount of food. I remember one year we all had to take an intermission because she had prepared so much. By the time the food coma subsides there was always plenty of dessert going around (including Easter eggs). I have always loved watching my cousins running around on a sugar high.
On Easter Monday we used to head down to my uncle’s farm. He has set up a footy field there and we would all go watch whoever wanted to participate compete. The weekend would always just fly past.
As the years have gone past and things have changed within the family and in our lives, I have really come to see the importance of family. Demanding jobs, change of circumstance and other commitments can really rob us of precious family time. Even as I sit here writing this post it has dawned on me that I am going to have to spend a good part of this weekend working on an assignment that is due on Easter Sunday. My sister has to work on all four days of the long weekend. People are stressing that they aren’t going to have everything organised for Sunday. There is just so much pressure everywhere.
I read a beautiful quote the other day:
“Because of the empty tomb, we have peace. Because of His resurrection, we can have peace during even the most troubling of times because we know He is in control of all that happens in the world.” – Paul Chappell.
I feel that the quote really puts everything into perspective. Jesus demonstrated that even in the greatest of suffering we need to have faith that something better is on the horizon. This gives us hope and allows us to appreciate all that we have and accept any of the circumstances that are presented to us.
In life things aren’t always going to present in the way that we would like. We are going to be challenged, pushed, disappointed and defeated – but what really matters is what we do when those things do happen. I have found that recently I haven’t completely accepted my circumstances. I have been sitting in denial about a few things that are niggling at me. I know that it isn’t until I fully embrace the situation for what it is and rise above it that things will remain the same.
Jesus had trust in God that his crucifixion wasn’t the end. He accepted it as his fate and believed that something good would come from it. If we use that analogy in our own lives we may find that by taking on what is presented to us and accepting it that we might see more beauty in the opportunity to make change.
As much as I love to talk about all the food and chocolate at Easter, this year I am taking a different approach. I am using it as a prompt to really consider what I value and what is best for me and my loved ones. I am not going to make myself sick stressing about my mid semester exams (that can wait). My goal is to be present. Now that I don’t get to see my cousins and family as much anymore, I want to value the time that I do get to have with them. Sometimes it takes things falling apart to really appreciate what was there before. It gives us the inspiration and the spark to strive for something better, something stronger, something that we really deserve and want.
Enjoy all the food and festivities this weekend. Let go of your worries about your waistline. Easter is about family, it is about love and it is about unity in the community. Do something kind for someone this weekend and let it be an Easter that can be reflected upon fondly as a marker of change and new beginnings.