Some Post-Easter Reflections
The Problem with Easter, in case you are wondering…
I mean, c’mon. Who DOES this to a kid?
And, yes, that’s me.
That’s me holding a hot pink sailor bunny with a chin curtain and a tartan scarf tied around its neck. And you wonder why my lips are pursed.
And, before we move on, can I just say that black patent shoes are all that is wrong with humanity?
Like, I feel an actual, physical loathing for them.
I have some big feelings about black patent shoes.
Also, white, fold-over knee socks.
Again, why do we do these things to our children?
But lest you think I’m any better than the rest…
I give you this.
Yes, that’s my precious daughter in fold-over white socks.
Thank GOD, I was able to hold the line on the black patent shoes, though. Whew.
And then there’s this.
I was about ten this particular Easter, I think.
Full-on awkward. And feeling every bit of it.
What I really remember about this Easter, though, is that dress. That dress left an impression in my memory because it was purchased for me as an act of kindness by a woman in our church. She picked me up and took me shopping for it and everything. It was so very kind (and kind of awkward, if I’m being honest… I mean, I was TEN). I remember actually liking the dress pretty well, which is saying something considering I was a regular Scout Finch who considered (ahem, consiDERS) the required wearing of dresses punishment akin to a beating.
But I also remember a deep sense of embarrassment the entire day.
And again on that Easter Sunday when I had to wear it to church.
Instead of gratitude for this gift I had been given, all I could feel was shame because I felt I was wearing something I hadn’t earned. That my family hadn’t earned.
Because I didn’t earn it. My family didn’t earn it.
My father didn’t earn it.
And, you see, that was the problem. In my mind, if I didn’t earn it, if HE didn’t earn it…I didn’t deserve it. Also, I knew for certain that gifts came with strings attached, and those strings were never attached to the kind person who gave the gift, but to my alcoholic father who felt the shame just as strongly as I did. He just couldn’t tolerate it nearly as well as I could.
And this is the problem with Easter.
Easter is all about the ultimate gift with no strings attached.
Much like that Easter Sunday when I was 10, I often feel as if I’m walking around wearing, in the form of salvation, a gift I haven’t earned, one I don’t deserve, or at the very least, one that comes with strings attached.
Deep down, I know the truth. Of course I do. I read about the truth, I talk about the truth, I write about the truth. It’s kind of embarrassing, really. I intentionally speak the truth over my children because I desperately want them to walk in truth, but I struggle to embrace the truth for myself.
I guess that’s not so off the beaten path, actually. In fact, my therapist likes to tell me this on a regular basis. There’s a lot of us out there in the same boat.
I’m kind of starting to believe her.
Especially now that Brené Brown has a Netflix special where she basically says the same thing.
Shame is a powerful thing. Once it attaches itself to you, it’s quite something to detach it. It’s some nasty, sticky stuff, with the ability to slime its way into the innermost crevices within you, making freedom from it feel like an impossibility.
During the Easter season, shame speaks louder to me than usual and says things that are super fun (not) to hear about my worth (lack of) as a child of God.
It’s a problem.
I’m working on it. The more work I do, the greater the battle I see I have ahead of me.
Trauma is a beast.
Recognizing the origin of the problem is though, I think, more than half the battle, so I’m grateful to be able to say that I’m more than halfway there now that I’m more than halfway through my lifetime.
I’m also really, really grateful that hot pink bunnies with chin curtains and tartan scarves are a thing of the past.
And guess what?
So are dresses if I want them to be.