"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes-and ships-and sealing-wax-
Of cabbages-and kings-
And why the sea is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings."

- The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carrol
(From Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I'm a bit of a fraud. At least, on the "big" holidays, I sort of feel like one. Sometimes.

I am a person who is sans faith. Not faith as in allegiance to a person or cause. I am a faithful wife and mother, sister and daughter. That is to be sure. But Faith. Capital "F". As in religion. I am sans religion. Sure, I've dabbled here and there. I think I'm somewhat well read on the subject. In fact, religion - as a concept - fascinates me. But I am unable - unwilling, even - to commit to a singular faith or dogma.

So, why do I love celebrating holidays that are rooted in faith? I love Christmas. And Easter. And yes, I had matzo during Passover. When I say, "namaste" I mean it. I hung a Native American dreamcatcher over my daughter's crib. Every year I contemplate giving something up for Lent. (But I never do - that seems a step too far, maybe.) But I do not wholeheartedly subscribe to any religion. I do not consider myself a Christian. Nor am I Jewish or Buddhist, or Hindu or Wiccan. But I also don't like to throw the label "Agnostic" or "Atheist" onto myself, either. I am just simply sans religion. Secular. Maybe, possibly a humanist. But not really...

I often think about this as we celebrate holidays. Easter to me really doesn't have anything to do with Jesus. I know that there are people reading this who strongly disapprove of me saying that. It might even anger them. Or they may feel bad for me. I've deleted that sentence four times now not even certain I should write it. But, I'm being honest here. To me, Easter was a day growing up that I got a beautiful basket stuffed to the gills with candy which I lined up on the floor across from my big brother comparing loot to make sure that everything was even, and then we'd trade for our favorites. I always got a new spring outfit. I'd go on the Easter egg hunt in Bunning Park (which I had always thought as a child was called "bunny park" because of said Easter egg hunt). Bigger kids would beat me to the colorful egg I had my eye on, only to have one of my older siblings plop extras into my basket to make be feel better. On at least two occasions, live animals were given as gifts. A bunny. A chick. Who I named Cheapers. Who grew up to be a rooster much to my mother's shagrin. But we didn't go to church. There was no "alleluia" in our Easter. Rather, there was food, family, friends, and treats.

And it was good.

Now, as an adult, I of course recognize that these major holidays are rooted in something entirely different. Something I was oblivious to as a child. And I wonder sometimes, as a parent, if maybe things should have been different. Treated with more reverence maybe? How will I approach these holidays with Abigail? How will our choices influence her? Am I - like most things - over thinking this? Probably so. It's just an Easter basket, right?

Today, my husband and I enjoyed the day together with Abigail. Our first family Easter basket. A new tradition of beignets for Easter breakfast. I roasted a turkey breast and spring veg. We had a big meal. We drank wine. Abbey got new toys and new clothes. We all cuddled together. We smiled. We laughed. We enjoyed the company of one another. We decided to coin a name for this holiday that's a tad more suiting to us - Feaster. As in "feast" because any holiday is just a great excuse to indulge a wee bit in my book. And as in "faux". Because we know that we can't claim to really celebrate this day for what it's meant to be.

And that's ok with us.

The thing is whether you are one of little Faith like me, or not, I think we can all agree that there's something really special about the traditions that we build within our own families. For me and mine, many of those traditions encircle holidays that just happen to have religious roots. Those memories are my favorite. And though I'm not a believer, in the religious sense, I am a believer in these days of celebration. The food. The stories. The laughs. For better or worse, my lack of religious upbringing has made me a curious and open person. I am always searching for answers. To be honest, I like that about me. I hope that for my daughter. Sure, it would be nice to be able to answer some of those tough questions definitively for her. But I have faith in her and her ability to explore and decide for herself. And that faith - in a word - is unfaltering.

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