For some, living here in the land of perpetual warmth, Easter’s role as culture’s major marker for the arrival of meteorological spring, doesn’t hold much value. Many of us have experience with northern climates, where no matter the temperature or the form of precipitation falling, Easter meant SPRING! The pastel clothes came out of the closet along with the white shoes and sometimes fancy hats. Even if they were worn with a winter coat in falling snow. If you’ve never had an Easter egg hunt in freezing rain wearing gloves, you’ve missed a classic mind-over-matter experience. It was Easter, so it MUST BE SPRING.
North of the tropics, comparing the arrival of spring with the Christian religious message of Easter is easy. As crocuses, tulips and daffodils emerge from the thawing ground that was covered in snow days earlier, the message of rebirth & renewal surrounds those in the northlands.
Here, we are surrounded by lush greenery year round. Flowers bloom year round. Stick a plant in the ground any time of year here and it will grow.
Yet we too need the reminder that the spring holidays provide. Passover is a Jewish holiday. Easter is a Christian holiday. They both celebrate the message of renewal. Within the broad range of spiritual beliefs in our world today, most recognize a higher power as well as the values of forgiveness, renewal and service.
We all mess up. We all need to forgive and be forgiven. We all need a fresh start now and then.
It’s usually easy to blow right past this annual reminder of all those things because we’re all in the middle of season. We barely have time to sleep and eat. Time to be alone with our thoughts is rare to non-existent in a regular season.
Not this year. COVID-19 has stopped us all in our tracks. We are home, our businesses are closed. We are under orders to not venture out of our homes unless it’s to exercise or shop for essentials or work if we’re employed by an essential business that is still open.
It’s easy to focus on what we’ve lost. We find our current situation restrictive and grating or a bit of a welcome break or somewhere in between. We’re mad or sad or maybe just a bit stir crazy. Sometimes all three at once.
We’ve also learned a lot of things. We learned that even the most introverted among us, miss the social interaction of everyday life. We learned that the safety net for those in need has major holes in it. We learned that some have no home to shelter in or the one they have is not safe for them. We’ve learned the value of teachers and medical professionals and grocery cashiers and stockers. We’ve learned the value of knowing your neighbors. We’ve learned, possibly the most important thing of all, the value of human connection.
The good news is all this social distancing seems to be working as the curve of new diagnoses appears to show the first signs of flattening. Now is not the time to run out and celebrate with friends and family. It’s flattening precisely because we are all staying home. It’s working! Stay home and help it keep working!
This week, whether you celebrate Passover or Easter or spring, use some of that time at home to think about our universal need for social interaction, forgiveness and a fresh start every so often.
Need a little gentle direction? Check out our Island churches and their online services this week. They are all working to reach out to not only their members, but anyone in the community who could use a friendly face, an encouraging message and a welcoming heart.
Happy Easter Fort Myers Beach!