April 10, 2009
Easter and loss of faith and finding some
Easter is for me a complex weekend, filled with remembered religious things, the death of my mum (it was Easter Saturday when I learned she was going to die), but really a non-holiday for me. I feel more pagan than anything, yearning towards spring. And the whole crucifixion story is so pagan, really, so descriptive of spring – death, waiting, rebirth.
It was this weekend that I finally lost patience with the Catholic church, and perhaps god, too.I went to the Easter vigil at the church on the base at Shilo to have a little talk with god and ask him why he persisted in killing off the people I loved in horrible ways. The priest wandered in and was astonished I was there. He came over to speak to me, which I didn’t really want since I was in silent argument with the deity and hey, he was interrupting. He asked why I was there. I said, through gritted teeth, that I was there to ask some serious questions as I had just found out my mother was dying. He replied, “Oh, I know how you feel – my mother has suffered from terrible sinus problems for ever!” Then he wandered off. Turned out later he was sent to Edmonton for diddling young soldiers without consent.
It is quite a funny parallel with the story of my dad, wasted away to nothingness by lymphoma, lying in his hospital bed at home, listening to my uncle the priest going on about how he suffered with sinus problems. I remember hearing him making sounds that I thought were crying after the fellow went downstairs, but when I went in to check on my dad, he was laughing so hard there were tears pouring down his face. “Imagine!” he said, gesturing to his wasted body. “Here I am like this, and he’s complaining about his sinuses!” He just kept rocking his head on his poor skinny neck while we laughed together, astonished at the selfishness of human beings and priests in particular.
Still, I suppose we all battle with our own particular demons at any given moment. One would think that a priest could rise above a little at times of crisis. It was like going to see a doctor about crushing chest pain and him talking to you about the trouble he was having with a fungal toenail.
And seeing my dad be able to laugh at that time taught me that the god I believed in was the one that gave us our component characteristics, our sense of humor, our ability to find a glimmer of joy in a dark grey room, our intelligence, problem solving, persistence, and depth. The god who knit together the sweater of our DNA, making it cozy enough for a lifetime of chills.