Did someone wish you a happy Easter on Friday?
Technically, they shouldn’t. But it is hard to correct people when they are being so dang
nice. For those who do not celebrate it as a religious holiday, they are being respectful, or they enjoy the mysterious happiness surrounding a giant candy grab and a long weekend. From a faith standpoint, many have convoluted the holiday into a celebration of the Sunday, making it all about the final part of the story.
And who can blame them? It’s a happy day.
But therein may be part of the problem. Only allowing for the happy celebration, ignoring the rest of the story. I recently had a good conversation with a friend about this fact in our culture; not allowing people to be un-happy. And even closer to home, not allowing ourselves to be unhappy. In her book Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown challenges extroverts such as myself with the notion of being lonely from time to time. That is an unhappy thought, but a very helpful notion. Our whole story is not simply a quest or an expression of happiness.
Even if you are nonreligious, and you live in North America, you have some concept of Good Friday not being a happy occasion. But it is also celebrated by Christians around the globe.
Why? Because there needs to be a recognition of the absence of happiness in order for us to be whole people. If a sad moment needs to be drowned, hidden, escaped, forgotten, etc. we become shallow people. In fact, there is a danger of our losing sight of our own humanity in the process. Our understanding of ourselves, and our ability to lead and live freely depends on our knowledge of the fullness of being ourselves.
That is not to say you should go out and find sadness so you know what both ends of the spectrum feel like. Sadness finds us all on its own. But get into the habit of allowing for the experience, understanding it, and then glean wisdom for the road ahead. Otherwise the escape will have less and less impact, and more and more beyond your grasp.
And yes, once the Easter basket is empty you are allowed to feel sad. Just like me!