Easter 4/4/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Today marks the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of Spring. In other words, it’s Easter Sunday.

For my non-Christian friends, Easter is celebrated as the day that Jesus Christ rose from the grave. This was when he was “re-born”, a central theme in Christianity. I, myself, was raised Christian but don’t call myself as such. I’ve known some great Christians and have great Christian friends but I’ve known far too many people who use the label as an excuse for bigotry, judgment and some truly heinous acts.

Still, I like Easter. Not as commercial as Christmas, it’s a time for family and friends to gather, and play Easter games like the Easter Egg Hunt. The last time I was invited for an Easter Egg Hunt, the eggs were the plastic kind filled with little candies and pennies. One of the kids found an egg with candy they weren’t using that year, but had used in previous years. You know, candy really DOES go bad.

Rebirth has been a rather large topic for me for the past few months. Not long ago, I had no vehicle, and was living with a friend who was putting me up as my income was basically non-existent. I was teaching as an adjunct professor, and actually not even making enough money to eat regularly. Today, I’ve retired from teaching altogether, have far more vehicles than I should, and own my home.

I wish I could say it was through hard work and effort, but my gain has all come from tragedy as the money necessary for these advances have come from the inheritance I received from the death of my father. Anybody reading this who is struggling financially, with their living situation or transportation, I’m afraid I have no advice. After all, for me these advances are dumb luck, but, such advances are nonetheless challenging.

Birth is a violent and difficult process. If we, you or I, went through the process of birth, we would be crushed to death. It’s an interesting fact that infants are tough enough to survive, as fragile as they seem, but we are not. The reason being that the bones have not yet calcified, making them flexible enough to make it through the birth canal. But it’s still difficult. An old friend of mine called it “birth trauma” and believed that people suffer from depression around their birthday because, subconsciously, we still remember this birth trauma.

It might seem like, with the good luck I’ve had, this “rebirth” I’ve been through has been easy. In fact, it is always difficult. I’m adjusting to an entirely new life; different job, different living situation, and yes, I’m struggling with it. I find my depression has been so high that I have even begun an online therapy program. I’m not sure if it will be helpful in the long run or not, but it, too, is part of this “rebirth” process.

I guess the most difficult thing for me is my retirement from teaching. I don’t know how to redefine myself, or what I will look like on the other end. This is both frightening and exciting at the same time, just as birth is. But as painful and frightening as it is, it’s an opportunity for growth, independence, and to learn. And, just as with a child, there will be growth pains.

The reality is that, since I am alone, Easter is just about as difficult as any other holidays are to me. But for my readers, I truly hope your Easter is fantastic, filled with love, family and friends. And lots of great food and fun. Easter, like most holidays, are really meant as a time for family and loved ones, which is why, even when I’m invited to join my friends for an Easter celebration, I typically decline. I don’t want to cut in on precious time for my friends with their family. With the Coronavirus, thought, this year may well have fewer people in these celebrations than usual. This is always difficult, and heartbreaking, but while we’re hopefully about to come out of this Covid-19 nightmare, we’re not there yet. The process of inoculation is only now beginning, and those who cannot join us this year is protecting them and ourselves so, with luck, they will be able to join us in future celebrations. Fear not, this won’t last forever. Enjoy those with whom you can celebrate, and reach out to those who cannot, and I hope you all have a terrific Easter.

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