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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Good Friday

Devout Catholics might want to cover your eyes for this segment. I'm about to tell you about my childhood experiences of Good Friday. I never intend to offend anyone, especially in matters of faith, but I sometimes do it anyway, because I'm honest...

I was raised Catholic. My mother and her mother were Catholic - mostly on Sundays and holidays - and pretty much Human the rest of the time. My father was a Union Man, which seemed like more of a calling than Catholicism to me as a kid, but my sisters and I were raised Catholic, because my father of course was required to agree to that before he was allowed to marry my mother.

Easter was a basically fun holiday for three little girls in a middle class neighborhood in San Jose. It meant new matching dresses, which Mom sewed for us, white gloves, white patent leather shoes, and hats with ribbons hanging down the back. Later, as we got older, the gloves were rejected, the shoes were upgraded to go-go boots, and the hats were traded in on groovy little triangle-shaped scarves that matched the dresses. We were cute, no denying it. We'd parade like three little ducklings to church on Easter morning, wishing like crazy the puffy old priest would hurry up already so we could get back home to Easter baskets full of jelly beans and chocolate bunnies. Dad was home through all of this, making sure the Easter Bunny had properly hidden the eggs in the back yard, and probably snitching a licorice jelly bean or two...

... But I'm hippity hopping ahead of my story here. In order to get to Easter Sunday and all the fun and fashion that went with it, we first had to endure the long afternoon of Good Friday. Mom had a macabre streak that showed up annually, not on Halloween, but on Good Friday. School was out for "Easter Vacation", so the whole neighborhood would be home, hanging out in each other's back yards, enjoying the California spring weather. Then at some point after lunch, Mom would call my sisters and I in, close the drapes in the living room, and in the false darkness of an otherwise beautiful spring day, she'd tell us the story of Jesus-On-The-Cross, and find some dismal religious radio station to make us listen to. We were supposed to be quiet, solemn, thoughtful, and if at all possible, thoroughly depressed. It might have lasted only ten minutes, but it seemed like all afternoon. It was torture. The only thing that got me through was the promise of the Easter Bunny. I knew HE wouldn't make me sad, and he always brought me cool toys too. Poor Jesus didn't stand a chance against the Easter Bunny.

I stopped "being Catholic" the day I turned eighteen, and never looked back. As one of my current favorite Holy Men, Michael Franti says, "God is too big for just one religion." I'm good with all of them. I even think there's still a place for organized religion in this world. Without it, a lot of people would be in deep trouble. But personally, I don't want to join any of those clubs. I take the pieces I like from all of them, especially the ones with good food, and weave them into a fabric that fits me. Nobody else has one just like it. Not even my sisters. And this year, I'll turn on all the lights on Good Friday, play some loud music, and make beautiful beads. And for Easter, Rick and I are going to Albuquerque to catch a baseball game with Lauren.

Happy Spring to you all. Happy new life, new beginnings, new hope. Now please pass the jelly beans.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi kim, i was brought up jewish and am a christian at heart; never converted but always believed in my heart that jesus was LORD! i agree with you 100% and believe that FAITH is a very personal thing....i celebrate good friday as any other by just being thank ful and blessed for all HE has given me and rejoice in his love...blessing always, joyce