Friday is always a glorious day!
Yes, I know today is Good Friday and for Christians of all stripes it is officially the day Jesus died on the cross and we are supposed to mourn, sacrifice, and pray. I just cannot bring myself to mourn today, however. Thinking of Good Friday has me thinking of Easter, and Easter is a day of celebration.
When I think of Easter, I think of where I was two years ago at this time. I went to Easter dinner with my brother and his wife to her parent’s house. They are always so nice to include me in all of the holiday celebrations. They know that I am single and I cannot always get to Pittsburgh to see my mom and step-dad for the holidays, so my sister-in-law’s family always makes a place for me just in case.
Two years ago, I was miserable. I weighed over 300 pounds. I could barely stand or breathe let alone walk. I felt uncomfortable and I did not feel as if I had much to celebrate. I went to my sister-in-law’s family’s for Easter and I felt out-of-place and uncomfortable.
Of course, this was not their fault. They were nothing but gracious to me, but I was really down about my health situation. This was before I decided to take control of my life and health and do something to improve my situation. I remember sitting on the porch, because I had to sit, and watching two groups of guests having fun.
The kids, my niece and her cousin, were having an Easter egg hunt in the yard. The other group, several of the adults were standing at the other end of the porch talking and having a good time. I was sitting alone, just watching. I felt like a spectator and I might as well have just been sitting at home watching a TV show, that’s how involved I felt with the world around me.
Two years later, I am again preparing to go to Rachael’s parents’ house for Easter dinner and the annual Easter egg hunt and I could not be more excited. Of course, I will get to spend the day with my niece who I absolutely love and adore. But I also know that this year, I can really participate in the celebration. I can actively cheer my niece and her now TWO cousins in the hunt for candy filled eggs. And I do not have to sit on the side alone feeling sorry for myself. I can stand and talk with the adults, too.
I feel completely transformed this year, like I have resurrected a better version of myself, so to speak. I know that I had a couple of bad days this week, but overall, I feel great. I want to celebrate and share my new life with the people I love and rejoin the world I thought that I had left behind.
My feelings of celebration and joy this year are also tempered a bit because some of my friends and family are not in the best of health. I have 2 friends and one family member battling cancer and one friend with AIDS who is awaiting test results to see if he has developed stomach or liver cancer, or cancer of the spleen. I know that while they may be happy for me and my new life, they are all facing some very troubling and dark times in their own.
I wish I could tell each one of them that everything will be OK, that two years from now, they will look back and see this as a temporary blip on their radar, that there are brighter days ahead. Alas, it is not in my power to make those kinds of promises. Would that it were.
I am not an overly religious person. I do pray, but I do not go to church and I do not proselytize to all of my friends. Even so, I do still consider myself Catholic. My grandmother had a big influence over my life and how I view religion. She believed you served God by serving others. She treated strangers with as much love and respect as she did her family and close friends. She took care of everyone around her, often to her own detriment. In other words, she believed in living the gospel, not preaching it. Well, not just preaching it anyway. I know that I am not perfect and I know that I fall short everyday, but I try to follow her example. I think my positive attitude and belief that I can change my life are, in part, thanks to her influence.
So, my Easter prayer is this: I pray for good health for all my friends and family; I pray that whatever difficulties they are suffering through now are short-lived and put in the past as quickly as possible; and mostly I pray that in two years we can all look back together and say good bye to the past and celebrate their new, healthier, happier lives. Amen.
May you all have a Happy Easter!