Yesterday, while at a meeting of friends and acquaintances that I attend weekly, a friend greeted me with a cordial “happy Easter!” I replied in kind, in much the same way I would wish someone a “merry Christmas.” He then proceeded to enquire how my day was. I responded with “just another Sunday…” My friend, knowing what my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) are, just gave me an understanding smile, knowing that in my world, "just another Sunday" is a pretty darned good day. However, someone else standing in the general vicinity took this as an opportunity to educate me. He said something like this: “This is Easter, the day our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was resurrected…” There was more and I am paraphrasing… he used the terminology and vernacular that was probably directly quoted from the Bible.
I was not speaking with this gentleman, nor did I know him. Although this group meets in a church, it is not a religious organization by any stretch of the imagination. Those who know me will not be shocked by my response and to those who don’t - I absolutely mean no offense. I said: “That’s what I heard too,” which is of course, true. And I heard it again from him. I continued with, “and it might even be true.” That shut him up.
The facetiousness was intentional, not incidental. That does not, however, take away from the truth of my statements. I get what yesterday meant to this guy. I get what Easter means to Christians in general; I didn’t used to, but I am considerably more open-minded than I used to be. I can understand how a deep belief in something can make it true – for you. What many (certainly not all or even most) Christians don’t get is how in the world Easter and Christmas and the countless other Christian holy days don’t mean anything special to those who do not subscribe to their beliefs.
Furthermore (you knew there had to be a furthermore!), I did not ask what Easter meant. I guess this advocate of Christianity heard in my “just another Sunday” response a cry for help, for understanding - or perhaps I wanted to be saved? Needless to say, not so. Here’s the deal… this is what Easter meant (past tense) to me: When I was a kid, it was about the Easter Bunny, coloring eggs and finding them on Easter morning. When I had young kids, it was about coloring Easter Eggs, the Easter Bunny and hiding the eggs early on Easter morning. Now, it’s just another Sunday. I expect that when I have grandchildren, the ritual will start all over again and I’m fine with that.
The best quality about my spiritual beliefs is that they are unique. I don’t think I could explain it even if I wanted to and I never even try unless asked. That means I am not trying to solicit or recruit followers nor am I promoting my beliefs. Although they work for me, I have no way of knowing if they’ll work for anyone else, but I am happy to try to explain if asked. By the same token, if I ask someone else, then I am listening – genuinely and without any facetious comments. I am not close-minded, I have asked… and listened. However, if you hear me talking to a friend and I happen to mention Easter and I “get it wrong,” please don’t try to educate me, I may be tempted to say something very unspiritual - and neither of us wants that.