I think my favourite Easter was spent in Jerusalem, 1995. I’d just spent 3 months wandering alone through Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan and ended up in the Holy City on Palm Sunday. The next week was religious chaos. I participated in the procession of the stations of the cross through the old city and at one point was lifted off my feet by the crush of the moving crowd through the narrow streets. It was exhilarating and terrifying. They say you can’t go to Jerusalem and not have a religious experience. It’s true. I was already susceptible, and was swept away.
My least favourite Easter was in hospital in Toronto when Suzy’s water broke 4 months early and our boys were born on Easter Monday. The world all around was marking the resurrection. We had death. But it was also a beautiful day. I knew I would be OK when I walked out of the hospital that night and noticed one star in the Toronto sky. It was still there. I felt it at the time, but am more confident saying it out loud now: Holding my own child as he died was one of the best things that could have happened to me. I learned stuff that day that would have probably taken decades otherwise. And I’m just glad there was something in me that let me participate fully in that moment. I really believe it was something I learned at another Easter years before and a world away. Life’s complicated. And dirty.
Sometimes it just sweeps you off your feet.