Choco­late, church and the best/worst time of the year

Kim Rig­gins lives in Smyrna with her two in­cred­i­bly spoiled dogs and an un­healthy ob­ses­sion with Star Wars.

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

“The real Easter was about find­ing eggs with my cousins, stuff­ing my face with ob­scene amounts of choco­late and then throw­ing it up on the back seat of my dad’s Toy­ota Camry. Now that was an Easter I could get be­hind!”

It’s that time of year again. The grass is green, the pollen is out and soon my apart­ment com­plex will be sched­ul­ing all land­scap­ing on my days off so that those morn­ings are filled with the melo­di­ous sounds of lawn­mow­ers, hedge trim­mers and weed eaters. I’ve never con­sid­ered that the shrub­bery be­neath my bed­room win­dow was par­tic­u­larly out of con­trol, but judg­ing from the amount of time and noise de­voted to them, they must look like a hot mess from a pro­fes­sional point of view. It is the time when we vol­un­tar­ily re­lin­quish an hour of sleep so our an­ces­tors can save money on can­dles. Most im­por­tantly, though, it is a time we cel­e­brate the res­ur­rec­tion of Je­sus by dress­ing up in the most un­com­fort­able clothes money can buy and find­ing eggs hid­den by a bunny. It seems Je­sus is al­ways the rea­son for the sea­son even when he isn’t.

My love and loathing for Easter go all the way back to when I was old enough to suc­cess­fully hide from my mom and what­ever dress she was try­ing to stuff me into that year. We drove off to my grand­mother’s church where my brother and I were herded into wooden pews, con­demned to spend the next hour and a half count­ing the panes in the stained glass win­dows. It was eas­ily the most bor­ing morn­ing of the year.

The real Easter was at my other, less pi­ous grand­mother’s house. The real Easter was about find­ing eggs with my cousins, stuff­ing my face with ob­scene amounts of choco­late and then throw­ing it up on the back seat of my dad’s Toy­ota Camry. Now that was an Easter I could get be­hind! Ask any kid if they would rather have a bas­ket­ful of choco­late to puke up later or have to sit in church all morn­ing and they will go with the candy ev­ery time. So, very early on, Easter be­came a hol­i­day where I had to do stuff that I gen­er­ally de­spised to get to the good stuff at the end. Now that I’m older and un­der­stand things a bit more I have dis­cov­ered that Easter is a hol­i­day where I get to do a bunch of stuff I hate only with 99 per­cent less candy in­volved and lit­tle to no vom­it­ing.

In Gala­tians, Paul refers to the law (or re­li­gion) as a “yoke of slav­ery” and warns his read­ers to not al­low them­selves to be bur­dened with it again, yet here we are. We cel­e­brate our free­dom by don­ning the shack­les of re­li­gion in or­der to prove our de­vo­tion. Most of us do it be­cause that is what we feel we should do, but there is irony in ob­serv­ing the event of Christ’s res­ur­rec­tion through a sys­tem­atic ob­ser­va­tion of rules. We traded sac­ri­fi­cial lambs for nice clothes and church pews. The re­sult is still the same.

The beauty of Easter is that we don’t have to sprin­kle the blood of an an­i­mal on an al­tar to be for­given for our sins. The point we seem to miss, how­ever, is that we don’t have to wear a suit and tie or a dress and heels or file into church pews, ei­ther. We don’t have to give the right amount of money or sing the right words, or even sing the right words well. That is the mes­sage of Easter. Re­gard­less of why we ob­serve the hol­i­day, be it the res­ur­rec­tion of Christ or sim­ply the cel­e­bra­tion of life, we can do it with­out reser­va­tion, rites or rules. There is noth­ing we must do but if you must do some­thing this year, I sug­gest stock­ing up on the choco­late.

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