Sunday, April 8, 2007

E.B. Survives Another Year

Perusing Wal-Mart aisles at 10:30 Saturday night, I had to wonder: Am I really doing so hot at this parenting thing? I scoured for baskets that matched their personalities just a little. Searched for the same chocolate bunnies they get every year. Meticulously chose the PERFECT prizes. All in a last ditch attempt to save the Easter Bunny’s life in the Butrfly House.

I debated all the way up until the night before Easter if I was going to continue the Easter Bunny tradition. We didn’t color eggs, didn’t bake cookies. I tried to stay far away from the commercial Easter things to see if they even got brought up.

A couple weeks ago, Sunshine told me that a REAL bunny could never come into a house and hide eggs and baskets of candy ((Me - ready with the explanation for the tale…)), so it must be a MAN dressed as a bunny that comes into our house and hides things.

I find that really creepy.

Even more, I wanted to kill the Easter Bunny. I wanted to open her eyes to blessings of Spring. I wanted to teach her about Jesus and why Easter is so important.

But I didn’t know what to say. Because I don’t really know. So I took the easy way out and found a cute floppy Easter hat and a chocolate bunny. And made cheesecake. I did happen to purchase the Jesus Storybook Bible, hoping that would help clarify some things. It puts the stories in words that I - er, Sunshine - can understand.

I would really like to get into a church around here. I really would. I’m just having trouble finding my ‘place’ in the ‘spiritual community.’

I’m not a deeply religious person, but I am a Christian. I was baptized and raised Lutheran and thought I would always be. Then I went to an UCC church as a teen that I loved. Everyone was very open and accepting. At one point, our pastors were a gay man and a woman. But they weren’t SO open that it made me uncomfortable, like some churches do. I don’t know how to say this without offending someone (and if I would have ever learned anything, I wouldn’t print something that comes after those words, but here goes anyway)…The kind of churches where they expect you to share feelings and hug people and throw your hands in the air and cry and stuff…that scares me. Because I’m a very personal person. (Says the girl with the weblog.) There are a lot of things that never leave my head. That never leave my house. My friendships, my family. Also, I don’t like touching strangers and I don’t like them touching me. My church growing up, you shook hands. Unless it’s cold and flu season, I’m okay with shaking hands. But hugging??? Not for me. I can see how lots of people would love to have a loving environment like that, but it’s not for me. At all.

I also do not like ‘spreading the gospel’ and preaching my beliefs. I like that everyone has their own ideas on life. I don’t like people trying to convince me to change my beliefs - and doesn’t it all come down to the Golden Rule?? Some churches really push this and I refuse.

The sub pastor at my UCC church is a great man. He’s getting pretty old now, so I don’t see him much. But he’s been a beacon of hope since I met him. When we were living in a gutted shell of a house - my mom fresh from open-heart surgery with no money and four kids - these people put us up in an apartment until we could make our house livable and did everything they could to help with the house. When his wife found out I was living away from home, going to school and work both full time, she picked me up and took me straight to the Driver’s Testing Center to get my license. When I hadn’t spoken to them in a couple of years and tragedy struck, they came within an hour of our call (then waited nearly 12 hours) to baptize my daughter and send her to heaven with a given name.
He gave me real, honest answers about religion. When I told him I didn’t believe all the stories in the bible were true, he told me that it was there to believe if I wanted it, but mostly to help me along my own path. When I asked the difference of UCC to Lutheran, he told me Lutherans sing more (we do!). I told him I didn’t believe God needed me to go to church to show my love and he agreed. He told me that it shouldn’t be about redeeming your sins or being heard - but about having a large, supportive family and a place to learn and talk about God.

And that’s exactly what I want. I want a place where I can meet people that believe what I do. Where I can make friends and get to know new people. Where people aren’t going to expect anything from me.

I know fear is driving this indecision. I’m scared to start a new routine. I’m scared to meet new people. I’m scared we’ll get settled there and end up not liking it. I’m scared it won’t be like I remember.

But one thing is for certain: The choice made by two individuals Easter morning to not clean up their rooms first thing and not wake up the parents and to just go ahead and dig into the candy led to the ultimate decision that Mr. E. Bunny will not be visiting our house next year. And I will not be one of those parents scrounging up whatever they could find left on the Wal-Mart shelves at near midnight just to keep the stinkin’ tradition alive.


MrsLady said...

I completely understand what you mean about church. A lot of the problems I have had with them are the same ones that you have had. I wrote a blog called "musings" here:
if you want to see that you're not the only one :)

As for the E.B.-we have never brought him into the house, so I don't know how to get rid of him. My son is 3 and he gets candy and stuff, but instead of doing the E.B. thing we watch "An Easter Carol" (a veggi tales Easter Story) and talk about Jesus in general (I still think he's too little to talk about death/crusifixion).

Good luck with the rabbit :)

Brillig said...

I generally do easter bunny stuff on Saturday and then focus on Jesus and the real point of easter on Sunday. I have my own issues with the Easter Bunny (I too posted about this this weekend!)

As for religion, I've done an awful lot of soul searching on this and, oddly enough, I ended up right where I was raised. But you're right. No hugging, no shouting, no screaming "hallelujia" etc. Just good people, believing in Jesus and that He is our Saviour and our greatest example. We're not a perfect bunch, but I love it and I'm raising my kids with it and I firmly believe it to be truth. When someone's interested or searching for "Truth" I'm happy to share what I've found. But I'm also not going to go around shoving it down everyone's throat.

When did I get into such a habbit of rambling here?

Kristina said...

Let me know how the book is! I haven't seen it before, and a not completely boring (to me) bible story book would ROCK!

I was born into our church....and really, the reason we're still there is I'm too much of a chicken to start "looking". I hope you can find someplace you like! I'll let you know if I hear of anything good up your way :)

Worker Mommy said...

For the second year in a row we went to an Easter "Eggstravaganza" put on by a local church. Its a wonderful community event with egg hunts for preschool age through 6th grade, puppet shows , crafts, bouncy houses and even free lunch. Its an amazing event and its completely free (although hubby and I would feel guilty if we didn't donate).

In any event, as we were there the parishioners welcomed us with open arms without being overbearing. They were so generous I thought this is it. This is the church we should go to but much like you I've had trouble finding my place in the spiritual community. I was baptized Episcopalian but stopped going reguarly as a teen.

In any event my sister sent me a link to the UUA. I love their basic principles
The closest ones to me are 15 miles either way so I haven't yet gone but I'm glad you posted on this topic.
It pushes the idea to the front of my mind rather than the back where its been sitting for some time.

Cherann said...

Church? what's church? I haven't been in ages. Although I know I should. I agree that J.C./God doesn't need me to worship him in a church but organized religion provides comfort. I tend to go to church in hard times.

As for hitting wal mart at 10:30...Wal mart's expensive (is that possible??). You should hit the 99 cent store on your lunch break next year.

sillychick said...

oh, girl, you and I could have hours of talk on this subject so I won't rant here.

I will say that I was raised holy roller and my husband was raised catholic. Try finding a church for both of us and I'll love you forever.

Kelly said...

Great entry. I feel honest discussion to a bunch of good questions. Hard to find where I live.