One of the many beautiful churches in West Virginia. (Deb Meissner photo)

One of the many beautiful churches in West Virginia. (Deb Meissner photo)

Reflections on Easter, love and a blending of faiths in our family

Deb holds fond memories for Easter

Easter when I was growing up meant baskets full of goodies with way too much chocolate, Easter egg hunts, church and family time. I remember my parents would always get me and my brother new outfits to wear to church for Easter service. It was tradition.

Rarely did I wear dresses, but on Easter I did. I remember everyone at church dressed up in their special Sunday best. I remember it to be a beautiful day.

As an adult, Easter is still about family time, but we have many beliefs and cultures in my family, so church in the traditional sense, has not been where we attend services.

For us, traditional Christian observances don’t include all members of our family, so religion is more about blending a family of different faiths and beliefs, respecting each other and learning about those differences. I like it.

I went to a Christian university, and took courses on many different religions. I enjoyed learning about other faiths and as an adult, I find my own beliefs are a mix and blend.

I’ve never been very traditional, but I do come from a family of faith. So I try to figure out where I fit in. I come from a Methodist/Presbyterian background, I incorporated those teachings into some Native American beliefs I was taught by elders, as a child. I have also studied and like teachings from Buddha, the Dalai Lama, and the Sikh faith.

I like the actions and teachings of the Catholic Church’s current Pope.

As I said, a beautiful blend.

My great-grandfather (on my dad’s side), was a Methodist minister, my grandpa (my mom’s dad), was an Irish Catholic, my parents went to a United Church, and I was baptized in a Presbyterian church.

My dad’s parents in their 70s converted from Methodist to Catholic, and I still wonder why.

Maybe it was about change for them, too. I’m not sure. What I do know is my family, for generations, have been faithful and loving people with slightly different versions of what faith entails.

To me, faith was about love.

As I get older I have much respect for religious figures who walk what they preach. I see the Dalai Lama, a very happy and content man who spreads his love and joy.

I find Pope Francis is a man of the people, and though he is Pope, he is a humble man with a message of love. If you can be so near to God, yet so connected to the common people, I admire and will listen to their messages.

I believe having some kind of philosophy, belief and faith system is important in our lives. Faith gives you a moral compass of sorts.

Nature, mother Earth and the world around me is my church where I feel spiritual and thankful for the beauty and goodness in life. Nature always restores my spirit in a world that often bruises my heart.

Since Easter comes in spring, and is traditionally about resurrection and rebirth, I find it a good time to think of all the blessings I have.

I live in a beautiful country, have a fantastic family, am loved, and love many. I am free, not afraid. In this world, with its many faults and sorrows, I am blessed.

However you celebrate Easter, or even if you don’t, I hope you can find beauty, love and the goodness in our world and each other, every day.

 

Easter basket (File photo)

Easter basket (File photo)

Pysanka – Ukrainian Easter eggs – made by Elenore Sturko and her family. (Contributed photo)

Pysanka – Ukrainian Easter eggs – made by Elenore Sturko and her family. (Contributed photo)