Easter and spring offer new life to the Oregon Coast

My big adventure this last week was Easter. I spent a lot of time looking at the altar and cross in this picture. Choir practice till 10:15 on Wednesday. Mass on Holy Thursday. Another Mass on Friday. And the lollapalooza of the Easter Vigil on Saturday from 7:30 until 11 p.m. At the Saturday Mass, we started outside with the lighting of the fire, then carried candles into the darkened church. We read and sang the whole story of our faith, welcomed new members into the church with baptism, and finally celebrated that Jesus has risen from the dead. We had more Masses on Sunday morning. So that’s what I have been doing. I’m a little disoriented not having another Mass to sing and play at today.

After church on Sunday, I joined friends for brunch at the Adobe in Yachats. Picture an ocean view, mimosas,I salmon and crab quiche, and a loaded buffet. Nobody could eat it all, but we tried.

Finally, I came home to my dog, who was so happy she couldn’t stop licking my face. I put on my sweats and tackled the mess in my woodshed, piling stuff up to take to the dump. What a thing to do on a holiday, huh? But my back has been acting up lately, and I finally felt able to do something besides soak in the spa and sit around with an ice pack. So now I can look out and say, “Yes, I did that.”

It was a good Easter with marvelous weather here on the coast. My biological family is back in California, but I was surrounded by loving friends and didn’t feel lonely for a minute, even though the Easter holiday is fraught with difficult memories. It was on a Holy Thursday that I found out my mom had cancer. She passed away three months later. I was at a Good Friday Mass two years ago when I got the call that it looked like my husband might be dying. He passed away early the next morning, and I missed the remaining Easter services that year. So to have everyone alive and well this year, with the sun shining, the plants and trees all beginning to bloom, and the joy of the Easter story successfully told again, I have many blessings to count.

P.S. A young friend who plays with guitar on us decided the Holy Spirit’s name is “Bob.” I like it. How about you?

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To each his own Easter

Yesterday was Easter. That means different things to different people. For me, it meant the conclusion of Lent and five days in a row at church, singing with the choir, praying, meditating and experiencing the whole story of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Finally we can say “Alleluia” again. Jesus died and rose from the dead. What we believe about that is up to each of us.

For Christians, the resurrection is the point of Easter, but most of our society seems to be more focused on parties, candy, colored eggs, and Easter bunnies. Even without the church part of it, Easter is a grand celebration of spring, where the world, like Jesus, comes to life after a long winter.

Some people just ignore the day, going about their usual activities. The streets of Newport were clogged with tourists and locals visiting the beach, the bayfront, the aquarium, the local shops and restaurants on a day that wasn’t sunny, but at least it wasn’t raining or windy. In fact, it was almost warm.

In my neighborhood, it was a day for outside chores. My neighbor’s tree-trimming chainsaw harmonized with lawnmowers, boat motors, children and dogs playing, and the hum of my washer and dryer. As the clothes washed, I tackled the spa. Uncovered for nearly a month until I could get help putting the cover torn off by wind back on, the water was full of dirt and pine needles. The filters were clogged. After several false starts,¬† I got the submersible pump working and pumped the water out of the tub. Then I climbed in and started scrubbing. Soon my clothes were soaked as I lay in the puddles at the bottom, mopping with a big yellow sponge. The plastic surface is hard and slippery, but I managed to get it clean without¬† hurting myself. It took over an hour to refill the spa with clean water from the garden hose and replenish the bromine and other chemicals. Then, triumphant, I turned the tub back on and the heater roared to life. This morning, the water is 100 degrees, just right.

I had invitations to Easter celebrations, but I chose to spend the afternoon on my own, doing whatever I wanted. My husband Fred died on Easter weekend last year, but that wasn’t the reason. I just wanted to do it my way. So I cleaned the hot tub, washed my clothes, walked the dog, wrote a silly poem, ate spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and watched TV until I fell asleep on the couch, comfortable in the knowledge that God is alive and my spa is clean.

I hope your Easter was as good as mine.