This time of the year is always a mixed bag of emotions for me. I find that I secretly grimace when I hear preachers or others in the church remind us that Easter isn’t about the Easter bunny. I know what they mean. I know that they are talking about the commercialism about the holiday, yet, Easter is very much about the Easter Bunny, for me.
My Easter story begins with an Easter Bunny. One that was bought especially for me on the eve of Easter, by my mother. It would be the last thing I would ever receive from her.
Like any other child, Easter was for me about getting a new dress, or shoes, or hair ribbons and a chocolate bunny whose ears were my first victim, but this year, to my delight a beautiful pink bear was added to purchases. We didn’t have much when I was a child. For the most part, my mom was a single mom raising kids in the late 60’s.. June Clever she was not. But, she did love us, that I was sure. Although, at times it seemed not as much as her need for men, but as I have gotten older I have learned from experience that when we know better, we do better and I am convinced that was the case with my mom.
I will never really ever know that for sure, so I have given myself permission to believe that it would have been true, had her life not ended somewhere in the wee morning of Easter Sunday 1971. My mother died a victim of domestic violence, although there was truly nothing domestic about our lives then. Violence was no stranger to our lives, nor the affects of it. We prayed for it to end, but we had no idea how drastic that ending would be.
It is weird how life and destiny can collide in one heart-breaking moment. I have described this moment of time in my life as feeling as if I could, even at 8, feel myself go so deeply inward; as if I were sucked into a tunnel where everything was in slow motion, and voices muted, and color stripped from my visual world. I have yet, some 40 plus years later, to determine if this was a place that God took me to protect me, or a place where HE later fished me back out of. Perhaps it doesn’t truly matter, all the same it was a place that even in its isolation felt peaceful and safe.
Over the course of my life I have had people ask me about my faith. Ask me why I am so sure of it. Why I feel that I know beyond all ability to know that God is real and I quickly share about this night in my life. Why I talk so freely about it.
When I hear people talk about near death experiences, It feels very much the same for me. Not, that I was near death, but they talk about that ALL knowing place, and I feel God took me there that night and it has been an experience that has kept me over time. And, while there has been much about religion that I have questioned, there has never been a moment that I doubted the existence of God and his son’s love for me. I have been truly blessed in that way.
It isn’t to say that I have always been a strong woman of faith… I have struggled with all the questions that anyone has, I have always believed that God could do anything, but struggled with the questions of would he? I have felt the survivors guilt; why did she have to go? why couldn’t our lives get better together? why did some things deep inside never really ever heal over? I have had moments of anger at God and often struggle with understanding the politics of religion.
But, I have no doubt that God came to me that day, a small child of eight who needed rescued. A power so big that it could draw me back to a place of the living… and he did. I have always been clear with what I have been saved from, and pursued the possibilities of what I was saved for.
So, even though I do know that Easter isn’t about just any old bunny…. Some Easter stories do begin with an Easter Bunny.