Raw Eggs and Christ’s Power

lukesThere’s something about Easter.  For a few shining moments your vision clears and the beauty shines through.

I grew up in St. Luke’s Episcopal church in Hot Springs, AR.  My parents even got married there back in the 40’s. I have so many astonishingly crisp memories of St. Lukes, with my family, before they all died. So, for me it is a scared place.

Once, when I was in the choir I had to go to the bath room, so I got up the courage to genuflect and walk past the alter in front of the entire congregation so I could pee.  When I returned I did the same thing, only this time I bowed in front of Christ and the alter.  A wave of snickering rolled through the church. Apparently I’d tucked the back of my choir robe and dress into my panty hose. I mooned the whole church at eight.

I kissed my first boy on the St. Luke’s play ground.

One Christmas eve my parents got in a fight DURING MIDNIGHT MASS, my dad stormed out and walked 9 miles home.

One year my mom was in charge of hiding all the Easter eggs in the park. They’d just cut the grass so mom sadly hid them all in poison ivy.  The next year she forgot to boil two dozen eggs before coloring them.  They took her off Easter egg duty.

When I was little I thought I could gauge God’s mood and his feelings towards me and the church by looking at the shadows on the painting of Jesus above the alter.

I remember my brother Jack (he died when he was 23 or so) pushing me so high on the old St. Luke’s swing set I though I would fly out and sail across the city.

But, like a moron, I got mad at St. Luke’s a few years ago. I think it was because our old priest, Father Larry, never told me he liked what I’d written about St. Luke’s in my novel Invisible Branches.  I wrote beautiful sweet stuff about the church but he never said a word. And it was a hell of a book (even though there were stupid typos)  Boy did that priest piss me off and hurt my feelings. So…I took it out on my family and myself and I guess blamed the whole church.

Yeah, what an idiot.

But we went back yesterday. As the choir marched in (Episcopalians love a good parade) with the organ and flute, brass and timpani my heart soared and I started crying. Sandor sang and nearly choked on communion wine.  I fussed at the kids for playing thumb wars during the sermon. People waved at us as though we hadn’t missed a Sunday. It was perfect and blessed and healing. That’s what happens when a moron gives up an old grudge and forgiveness arrives like a Christmas present. Even if it took years and years.

There’s just something about Easter.

I Can’t Hold A Grudge Anymore…What a Wuss

I’ve lost my touch. Years ago I didn’t just “hold a grudge”, I fed it and rocked it to sleep. If I got mad at someone, I was absolutely brutal and didn’t have any problem cutting them out of my life with a scalpel.

I was never ugly, I didn’t speak poorly of folks I was mad at or who hurt me. I simply acted as though they didn’t exsist. They became invisible to me.

Before you start lecturing me on forgiveness let my assure you I know how damning and detrimental  anger can be . I know WAY BETER THAN ANYONE ELSE that I was hurting myself and punishing myself with this absurd behaviour. I KNOW so please don’t  tell me about the importance of forgiveness.  You think I don’t know that? Hell yeah,  I know holding a grudge and not forgiving people makes you sick inside and out, it eats at you….etc… I’m stubborn and petty but I’m not stupid.

But I’ve lost the touch. I’m such a wimp now I can’t stay mad at people anymore, even if they really really hurt me. Even when I’m mad I know I still love them. And eventually, I relent, say, “what the hell” and drop the grudge. I realized this the other day when I caught myself smiling while thinking about someone who hurt me. I was smiling and that felt good so all of a sudden I decided I wasn’t going to be pissed off any more.  Suddenly, the tilted table, the see-saw, the scale, they all felt balanced and I felt really good.

I think part of the problem has to do with cell phones. Fifteen years ago it was so easy to avoid the offender who hurt your feelings. They couldn’t reach out to me when I was in the car or working out. All I had to do was refuse to pick up the phone at home and they were out of my life.

Now, because of cell phones, you can call me and text me all the time (I have a ancient cell phone so I can’t block numbers). You can send me a text that just says, “I really miss you”. That tells me your thinking about me and my hard heart starts to thaw.

I’m kind of disappointed in myself but I’m also relieved  Holding a grudge and dropping people like dirty socks takes a lot of effort.  Yeah, I still get mad, I get crazy smokin’ hot mad. And like everyone on the planet, I get my feelings hurt when you say or do something mean.  But if I get mad at you, just a wait a couple of weeks and chance are I’ll  get over it or,  I’ll miss you so much that I will decide to keep you in my life even though you are an ass.

And hopefully, when I really tick you off and make you made you will do the same.

*if you have a hot temper let me know, if you think I’m an idiot, please let me know. Send me an email at hampoland@gmail.com, leave a comment, hit the rss button at the bottom. Anything so I know you’re out there. Thanks, DH