Old observances

This is a big weekend for spring holiday observances. The big 3 monotheistic religions have something going on, in order of chronological appearance: Passover, Easter and Ramadan. I grew up nominally Christian, following that calendar of celebrations. However, it was more about being helpful and of service to those in needs as opposed to following a set of rules. This worked okay for me, although by the time I was of confirmation age, I declined, not wanting an external set of standards to define me. This was 1970, and independence of thought, not following traditions for traditions sake was common.

Others of my friends in high school took a different path, joining the teen group at a church near our high school. They were happier with the “rules” as interpreted by this institution. Our paths drifted apart, as I wasn’t too happy with being told I was going to rot in Hell for not joining their faith. Judging others has never made much sense to me. Helping, caring, kindness, yes. Judging, condemning, blind obedience to rules, no.

So today is Easter, unless you are Eastern Orthodox, running on a different calendar. We’re not doing anything specific here, although we are enjoying the natural bounty of spring. I made a delicious asparagus and quinoa salad for dinner last night, and the organic strawberries BA brought home a few days ago added their taste and fragrance to today’s breakfast. The sun is shining, early bulbs are blooming, and we’ll take a walk later checking on the progress of the birds at our local ponds. It’s a good observance for me.

My blogging friend Martha Kennedy posted this yesterday. I love the meme she cited: Tradition (noun): Peer pressure from the past. I work on paying attention to peer pressure, whether from past or present. Does the suggested action, thought, behavior actually work/make sense to me? Who stands to gain if I do this? I am okay with not following norms, real or imagined. Once again, I find myself firmly in favor of the spirit as opposed to the letter of the law, observances included.

Happy Spring (or Fall if you’re in the southern hemisphere) to All, however you may observe and celebrate.

Written in response to today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt of Observance and for tomorrow’s April Blogging from A to Z Challenge of O.

8 thoughts on “Old observances

  1. I had a similar experience with church. When I was 15 I questioned the idea that only people who accepted Jesus as their “personal” lord and savior would go to Heaven. I asked my Sunday school teacher, “But what if you’ve never heard of Jesus? What if a person is a Buddhist?”

    “Well, they won’t go to Heaven.” Baptists had only one alternative to Heaven.

    I thought that was pretty shitty of God and it didn’t make sense if God was, indeed, love. It didn’t go better for me in the ensuing years and ultimately I was thrown out of my youth group. I tried a couple more times and finally decided that I didn’t have to understand the universe, or make up a system for or follow the system of anyone else. I do love the various metaphors, though, artistic gestures toward understanding that which we really cannot understand.

    Kindness and ethical action make more sense to me, too. When I was a “tween” and in Rainbow Girls, I had two offices: Nature and Service. I think that sums it up. ❤

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  2. I also am not a believer in blindness to the rules. My kids were in Catholic school K-8 and I was probably considered a trouble making mom because if a rule didn’t make sense I was vocal about it.

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  3. We don’t observe anything much — except food quite possibly because the official “holiday food” is usually very much on sale right before the holiday. We got a huge ham for $6, most of which is now in the freezer and the asparagus was on sale, so we got a lot of that, too. We eat corned beef around St. Patrick’s day because it’s the only time of year we can afford it.

    I used to create a mini-Seder on Passover, but it was a lot of work and I eventually got too tired to keep it up. Garry always plans on going to church, but never actually goes because religiously, he deeply believes in sleeping late.

    We used to attend church occasionally because we had friends there, but they died and with them died any remaining energy for going. I miss the people, not the service, probably because I didn’t believe it anyway.

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  4. I was raised in a Christian home and I just assumed I was Christian too just because I attended church every Sunday. It wasn’t until I started to seek out Jesus for myself in my late 20s that I realized I wasn’t just riding on the coattails of my parents faith. I’m glad I did.

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