Sunday, October 06, 2013

An Easter Story

Sunday. Easter morning. Just like any other Sunday if I'm not on the road, I'm either hiking or at the park with my dog friend. 

I'm not a religious person, if you define religion as sort of a structured way of thinking about God and such.  I was raised Mormon but then went on to follow my own heart in search of a personal relationship with all things greater than myself.  Still, the holidays bring back memories of my childhood, mother, family and Easters past.

Beautiful warm breezy morning in Arizona as Halo and I walk around the park. Families have already staked out the picnic tables for what soon will be barbecues, cakes and egg hunts.  Near us a very large family had pulled together 2 picnic tables. Table tops decked with Easter baskets, crock pots of food, bags of candy and plastic Easter eggs.  Elderly family members, some in wheelchairs are gathering.  Halo swings in a bit to close wanting to check out the food and I have to rein her in. 

Off in the distance, I sit under a huge Palo Verde tree which is in the midst of a spectacular bloom and I like sitting under it as its blossoms have started to drop and the ground is covered in a beautiful confetti of yellow.  I share my breakfast with Halo and I'm enjoying my Starbucks and watching the families gather with small children, little girls dressed in Easter dresses.  I contently watch from afar.

New cars pull up and little girls and boys run up to the picnic and hug their seated grandparents. Little boys in collared shirts are playing ball with the Dads.  My thoughts are of family and remembering Easter with my mom. Coloring Easter eggs and remembering how I'd see our Easter baskets tucked high in a closet during the rest of year, empty and waiting. Thinking about wanting to move back to California and trying to define the direction I want my photography to take which constantly seems to shift as my priorities become clearer. These are my thoughts. Listening to Sarah Bareilles's  "I Choose You" in my headphones and thinking about missing those I've loved, still love.

As I'm watching this Easter family picnic I realize something is taking place and I pull my iPhone earpieces out and watch more intently.  Suddenly, in the midst of this idealistic family scene a fight has erupted between an adult daughter and an elderly mother. 

Both stand up to each other defiantly, a very heated exchange unfolds in front of the whole park.  The daughter and mother scream at each other, something about something being said about one of the children.  Obscenities are flying as the daughter gathers her 4 children, 2 girls, 1 boy and a baby and they start to leave. The little girls are screaming and hanging on to the grandparents, the little boy is slumped over on a picnic table crying as an adult consoling him is rubbing his back.  The daughter yells something at the mother about going back to Texas.  Family members trying to give the departing children their baskets but the mother wont let them take them. The children wailing  and they walk off, get in their SUV and drive off.  The elderly mother, left to be consoled by others is clearly upset. 

Putting my earpieces in to retreat back into the music, I realize this scene has clearly hit an emotional chord within me and I find myself needing to brush the tears off my cheeks as I sit under my tree.  I would give anything to have my mother back for one more Easter. To run across a grassy park in an Easter dress to hug my grandmother one more time.  To play in the park with my brothers when life was simple.  What I just witnessed seemed so pointless, so sad. 

This whole scene fell apart by words spoken. Poorly chosen perhaps?  Intentional or not?  Did they just hit a nerve or hit a limit? Who knows. I've always known the power of words. They can be instrumental in changing lives, uplifting and inspirational. Depending on who they come from can be destructive, painful and heartless.  Words have cost lives and changed history.  Did they know those could very well be the last words they may ever exchange.

One thing I know for sure is that the more you believe in yourself and the more you know your own truths the less affected you are by the words of others. It's a long journey to get to that place but certainly worth the peace of mind.  You can't go back and change history but words spoken today have the power to change the course of all your tomorrows. 

This Easter morning I sat under a big beautiful tree on a sunny and stunning morning with my dog and cried.  Not for myself,  I'll be OK but for words left unspoken and hearts left misunderstood. There is a lesson in this day. I'll think about my words and try use them tenderly. Know that being human  means making mistakes and having the humility to say your sorry is finding grace amongst  our humanness . You can't change history but you can change the very last word or deed you do.  Even if it's an apology or a kind parting gesture.  Tomorrow is always another chance to do it all better.

 On this Easter may your day be bright, your baskets full of color and chocolate and your words be tender.

Happy Easter to all