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Today is Good Friday. If you are of the Christian faith this is a day that one remembers the suffering and the crucifixion of Jesus. If you are not of the Christian faith it may just be a day off work, a day to do something special or not.

I no longer go to church. I come from a religious family and a long line of priests including my Grandfather who was a Ukrainian Catholic priest. My history includes many a day and in particular many a Good Friday day in a church. I drifted away from the formality of attending mass every Sunday a long time ago but continued to attend mass for special occasions like Christmas and Easter until I moved away to another city. I have yet to attend a mass here in my new home.


Nonetheless a day like Good Friday and Easter as a whole still remain significant for me. Going to church is just one element of the package and the other essentials remain important to me. Easter signifies new life, a beginning and perhaps even a starting over that fits well with the coming of Spring and the freshness of this season. New growth is seen everywhere and seeds are planted in hopes of further growth. Daffodils and tulips flood the grocery stores and the flower shops bringing a smile to my face. It is a time of year to reflect on the change that is so very much a part of life.

This year however there is little attention to Easter in my little world. I will attend the Bach in Excelsis concert by the local chamber choir tonight as a way to remember the importance of this day and because I love choral singing. Sure my husband, daughter and I will share dinner on Sunday to commemorate the day but so many of the things that Easter is all about will not be part of my Easter this year.

There will be no Easter basket filled with food to be paraded into the church to be blessed and then shared with family. There will be no paska and babka to spread thick with butter or better yet cottage cheese and beets. There will be no painted Easter eggs and I guess there will be no frustration of trying to get the shells off without tearing the egg to shreds. There will be no heightened anticipation of being able to eat ham and kobassa on Easter morning because I have not fasted and also because I rarely eat ham or kobassa anymore. There will be no plush bunnies guiding the way to the hidden chocolate Easter eggs for our children to find. There will likely be no chocolate at all. Long gone are the days where Easter offered a guarantee of a new dress and maybe even a hat to match. This will be a simpler celebration.   

What remains is my attention to the fact that we celebrate the crucifixion of one of the many religious leaders of our history. Jesus is one of a group of revered individuals who have attempted to set us on the path of love and compassion for each other. That we require constant reminders to move in the direction of caring for ourselves so that we may care for others is what I am thinking about today. Good Friday will always remain a solemn day in my mind, a reminder to reflect on choices.


Irene McDermott © 2012