religion

Easter Through The Years…or Snippets of My Spiritual Journey

Over the years, Easter has become less and less of a big deal in my life, which is sad, because Christ’s resurrection is like THE CORNERSTONE of Christianity, right? My mom used to make a huge deal out of it. New dresses. Dyeing eggs. Church (except the year we stopped going), and big dinners that always involved ham. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a pretty awesome holiday, but for me, it doesn’t have that same anticipation and specialness that Christmas does. And it should, and not just because of the chocolate.

Here’s a short pictorial trip down memory lane, where you can see how I celebrated Easter through the years, complete with retrotastic furniture and all.

Happy Easter, Little Ronica!
age two

Easter Basket
age three

Easter
age eight

When I was twenty, I was initiated into the Catholic Church through RCIA at the St. Thomas More Newman Center (Eee, Father Vinny is still there!). The ceremony took place during a three hour long Easter Vigil, during which I was baptized, confirmed, and had my first communion. It was pretty cool. After the ceremony we had a huge party and were given giant Easter baskets full of chocolate and a Pass The Pigs game. (We’d had too much fun playing Pass the Pigs at the RCIA retreat a few weeks earlier.)

Being Baptized
being baptized

Confirmation
being confirmed by Father Vinny

Neophyte
being a neophyte

Once I was a confirmed Catholic, I went nuts. I was a Eucharistic Minister. I was always involved in one thing or another. Student ministry. RCIA (this time as a sponsor). Volunteering. And I even worked on staff there as a part-time receptionist for a while after college. I very fond memories of that church and that community.

I am no longer a practicing Catholic, but I still find many aspects of the faith beautiful, and I still have a collection of all kinds of rosaries, including a few that I handmade. I was just thinking tonight about how I kind of wished I was at an Easter Vigil. Yes, it’s a long service, but the way my church did it? It didn’t seem that long at all. It was a beautiful, amazing service. I don’t know if I’d want to go to anywhere ele, but I kind of wish I was at Newman Center right now. I have this to keep me company though:

As I said, I drifted away from the Catholic Church and church in general. Until about 2004, when I became really involved in an evangelical community. This was Aidan’s Easter basket that year:

Aidan's Easter Basket

That Easter was pretty cool. I spent the night under the stars with a bunch of other young (or young at heart) people (I’m sure I was the oldest one there, but it was still fun) and we did a sunrise service that was amazing. I was SO HIGH from that.

2004 was a crazy year for me in so many ways. I made a lot of new friends (most of whom I no longer really talk to except for the occasional facebook stalk or facebook game spam), I became super involved in church activities: volunteering with the teen ministry (my FAVORITE!) and the young adult ministry, doing Power Point presentations, throwing parties, putting together newsletters, and even running a life group. There was a lot going on at home as well. I get exhausted when I read those entries–I was always going going going. No wonder I’m so content to just sit and read these days.

There was the Easter in 2006 where I was treated to a double rainbow.

Double Rainbow - Easter Morning

2006 is also the year my life changed in so many major ways that to think about everything that happened to lead me to where I am today is overwhelming and crazy. And also kind of amazing. Needless to say, my spirituality took some crazy twists and turns, and right now, it’s an ever growing and ever changing and ever winding journey. Maybe one day I’ll go more in depth.

Happy Easter!

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Brokenness/Friendships (Long)

Brokeness? Brokenness? I’m not sure of the proper spelling. Who knows?

Anyway, there is a song we sing in church. One of the verses goes like this:

Brokeness, brokeness is what I long for…

I don’t really remember much of the song at the moment. One thing is for certain–that particular line always stood out in my mind because I never understood why someone would LONG for brokenness. From what I understand, being broken means being miserable. Everything is going wrong. Lives being torn apart. Pain beyond belief. Nothing left. All one can do is cry out to God.

I want to be able to cry out to Him any time. Actually, when I am hurting, I tend to run from God. I hide because I usually feel as if I am being punished and that whatever I did to deserve the bad things means that I’m too bad for God. And I guess in Christianity, that is true and that’s why we have Jesus. Jesus is supposed to be our bridge to God.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine called me a “good Christian.” I’m not comfortable with that. I’m not a good Christian. I’m a Christian because I am so very bad. I need some kind of redemption, and here, God offers it, basically for free. Except… I just can’t be still and accept this gift. I evaluate my mind, my thoughts, my actions, my wants. And I think to myself “I won’t see God in Heaven.” And that scares me.

I try to fathom God’s love for us and I simply can’t. I’ve tried to compare it to what I feel for Aidan. I don’t choose to love him. It’s just there, just as the sun rises every day. Just as the seasons change. It’s just there and I doubt anything Aidan does will take that away. Since I do love him so much, I don’t see myself “breaking” him just to draw him closer to me. Maybe I don’t know what I am talking about because he is only two.

Every year, I learn more and more about myself. Not all of it is good. I feel as if I’m supposed to be a certain way for whatever reasons, but I know there are things about me, ugly things I keep hidden from most everyone I know, that will pick at me for the rest of my life. I don’t like it. And I ask God “Why can’t it just be EASY? Why can’t You take this away? I don’t want this anymore.”

Then I get hurt. Again and again and again. I think of things and I wonder what I did to deserve it. I think of good things and wonder when it will be taken away. I ask God why did He save me from that particular pain, but allow me to feel this one, the one that devastates me. I find it hard to run to Him when I am so angry at him. Then I feel guilty. And now I feel like I just wrote a verse in Mr. Brightside.

But seriously, times have been trying for me. I am so confused. I feel angry at hurt, but on the other hand, glad. It’s October, that time of year for cleansing and pruning, at least for me. I tend to start evaluating my relationships and deciding which people to cut and which people to keep. Almost like sorting clothes in my closet.

This no longer fits me. I’ll get rid of it.
Hmm. I might fit into this one again. Let’s pack it away and try again in a few months. Or years.
I love this!! I’m definitely keeping it.
Wow, I can’t believe I forgot I had this. I need to remember to wear it more often.

I cut people off who no longer fit with me. We all grow and change. Maybe it’s merciless. It’s probably everything Christianity goes against, but I’m not God. I can’t be friends with people who hurt me over and over. I can’t continue to waste my energy investing in people who couldn’t care less about me. It’s amazing that (I’m taught) God chases us, persues us. I can’t do it, though. I have to cut them out for my sake. It’s not as if they care, so it’s good all around. Not to say that it doesn’t hurt. It always hurts. More with some people than with others, but the pain is always there. But in the long run, I start to feel liberated. I no longer have to worry about that situation ever again.

Some people just don’t mesh well with me right now. That’s not to say that won’t change in a few days, months, years. There is one person in particular who used to frustrate the bananas out of me just a few short months ago. Now I adore him times a million and can’t wait to get to know him better.

Then there are those who mean the world to me, those unexpected friendships. The ones that just bloom out of nowhere. Just like the random petunias that pop up in our flower bed from time to time. Petunias are annuals. Chris hasn’t planted them for years. They should not be randomly growing!! But they do, and it’s always a wonderful surprise.

And of course, there are my old friends who I don’t talk to as often as I used to back in the day. Speaking to them is like a breath of fresh air, and I wonder “Why don’t I call him/her more often? Or get on AIM or email? Why is that?”

New friendships. I think the best ones are the unexpected ones. The ones that suddenly happen. It’s hard, though, not to feel lonely here. My best friends all live in different states. I have a lot of friends here, but no girlfriend (in Columbus) who I am really close to. Is this my fault? Do I put up walls to keep people out? I mean, if they’re out there, they can’t hurt me, right?

I feel like I’ve cycled through a LOT of people in the past 18 months or so. Today Chris said “Ronni, not everyone has to be your best friend. And it’s okay for your best friend to live across the country.” That’s easy for him to say, though. He has Craig. They talk all the time and go on trips together and hang out often. I have friends I can call all the time. But I guess I’m still not satisfied yet. When will I be satisfied? Why can’t I be satisfied with the friends I have now, and even the very good local friends I have (like one I hope to start eating lunch with every single Friday from now one–or at least the ones when we get paid HAHA), or that certain brother of mine who has been absolutely loyal to me for nearly a year now… and just give up trying to have a (local) best, best, best friend?

Or maybe I shouldn’t think about it so much and just let things happen. Like that flower.

I guess I just get lonely and I don’t call a lot of people because I worry that I am bothering them. I don’t know. Sometimes, I can’t help but to reach out, though. It’s like a compulsion. I think of someone, I want to contact him/her. I have to curb that urge because it’s burned me too many times. Gifts should be given freely. But when repaid with cruelty, I can’t handle it.

I should go to bed. I could go on all night babbling about junk. I hope I haven’t hurt anyone with this, or made them feel left out. That was not my intention. Just what I’m feeling right now… it’s a lot. I’m scared that God has started “breaking” me. Too many things are crumbling. Too many foundations are cracking. I’m scared that I’m getting sick. Aidan is growing and today is the first time it’s making me want to cry. One day he’s going to be a man. I don’t know if I can handle it. Or if I even want it. But I’m not supposed to fight it.

Good night….

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