What Does the Easter Bunny Have to Do with Anything?

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Yesterday on the way back from our annual Spring Camping Trip to Big Sur, we stopped by the Mission San Antonio de Padua. The Kids and I were checking out the chapel when we came across this painting of Jesus Christ. I was explaining the symbolism of it when I turned and noticed both girls had left the chapel. Douglas was with me but he was scared. And the girls were definitely spooked out of the room.

This icon reminded me of everything that’s wrong with organized religion. It’s morphed into some grotesque power grab that’s all about controlling people’s thoughts, actions and ultimately their money.

Easter is the only holiday which I do not like. As a little boy Easter was a stressful time when my siblings and I were expected to morph from normal, scrappy kids into some sort of idealized model Roman Catholic – all dressed up in a suit, tie and polished dress shoes. The Easter Bunny was a strange, emotionless idiot savant creature who appeared but once a year. It was neither masculine nor feminine. It didn’t speak, which was telling in itself. Here was this grotesque, oversized rabbit who had no opinion of itself, and had no expectations of myself. It simply showed up once a year to pass out colored eggs and candy.

This is the first Easter my children had without their mother. Savannah was so kind to help me out by organizing the Easter Baskets for Courtney and Douglas. We both hid easter eggs throughout the house last night after the two younger kids went to bed. But Savannah knew my heart wasn’t into it 100%. She’s smart and knows I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny. Her helping me hide eggs last night was awesome, and I love her for that.

It’s a sad day because it pains me to think the kids are going through this Easter for the first time without their Mother, and I can’t fake it good enough to be totally stoked about the Easter Bunny. I wanted to tell Douglas there is no such thing as the Easter Bunny. It’s simply a merchandising tool to sell lots of candy and cheap imported junk. It’s not real. Yet I’m conflicted by the understanding that Douglas should enjoy this as a special childhood event.

Douglas and the girls will come to realize that Easter is nothing more that an orgy of consumerism. I can’t tell them that now for it would only take away their enjoyment. But something tells me my kids have already started to figure out the charade of this holiday. It’s something they and they alone will need to figure out. It’s not up to me to tell them. Life will teach them.

I hope they will understand all of this. I hope they will find peace and satisfaction in enjoying this holiday as a chance to take a break, get together with family and friends, and feast. I hope they will take comfort and enjoyment in the ritual, without getting caught in the hype and ultimately empty fulfillment that our materialistic society has foisted upon us.