Friday, March 26, 2010

Catholics, embrace your inner Pagan

It’s almost Easter. It’s been Easter a lot of times before, but this is the first year that I know why Easter is when it is.

When I was little I loved Easter. Of course, I was catholic. Easter meant Palm Sunday, where we each got our own little imported palm frond at church (I always braided mine and hung it on my mirror). I got a new dress and shoes. Fancy shoes. More church, where everything was draped in white and everyone was in a cheery good mood – didn’t you hear, Jesus died! Then came grandma's: Easter egg hunt, massive amounts of candy, presents, and a huge ham dinner. Easter rocked.

I never could tell you what a bunny and eggs had to do with dead Jesus.

Ah, but now of course we understand the raising-from-the-dead/rebirth – egg analogy. I still don’t get the bunny, they don’t lay eggs. But they are very spring-y.

I had a hard time understanding why Easter wasn’t the same time every year. They don’t move Christmas around. My mom always said “just cuz” or something equally helpful which meant she didn’t know either. This year (finally, whew) I learned Easter is “the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or following the spring equinox.” That doesn’t seem very Jesus-y. That seems very pagan. Turns out a lot of very catholic things really are also very pagan. So why do catholics hate pagans so much – don’t pretend you don’t, I’ve heard you talking.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I ran, so far away

In a week I am running -- I am racing -- in my first organized event, the Shamrock Run. I have butterflies.

I've been running/jogging/sloshing along for much of my life. Only this year did I feel an inspiration to raise the bar. I joined a running club, which for me should be change enough to cover me at least a couple years. But no, I want more. I want it all in fact. My plan this year is to train my buns off (literally, they need a little trimming), run in a number of races from 5k to half marathon, run the Hood to Coast relay late summer, then the Portland Marathon in the fall.

I am aware that this plan is giantly ambitious, and will require some steely resolve. I am going to do it.

How do I know? I love life. I can choose anything I want to do, anything at all, and just by pouring all my energy into it I can make it so. What an amazing gift! It's unreal all the wonderful things there are to choose from -- I want them all. I'd like to sing in a rock band, climb Mt. Everest, learn to surf, speak 5 languages, road trip every weekend, rewire a lamp, change my bike's bearings, kayak down the Pacific coast. Now.

I think it's only because of how much time I spent feeling helpless, hopeless, and lost that I can really feel the truth of this. I have always firmly believed that a full understanding of life comes from seeing, from living both sides. I've been an addict, I've been hopelessly depressed, aimless, unimportant. A wandering soul, watching time float away.

I now want the most of myself in everything I do. The challenge becomes funneling my energy into just a couple of areas so I'm not spreading it too thin. But I'm running and running and running, and I will finish the Marathon, and also this 8k.

Why, then, do I have butterflies?