Saturday, March 22, 2008

By Any Other Name

I want to wish a Happy Easter to everyone.

And I have no problem with calling it Easter. There are those in the Christian community who don't want to call it that- they call it Resurrection Sunday. The name Easter is of a pagan origin, they'll tell you. And they're correct.

Many ancient celebrations were 'converted' by the church. Those leaders knew that the people wouldn't want to give up their traditional ceremonies, so they were changed to fit the bill. So what was once a celebration of spring, of life, of fertility and renewal (to a goddess named Easter although I think it is spelled differently) was made to coincide with another celebration of life.

Fertility. Hence eggs and bunnies. But it also came to mean the days we mark Christ's betrayal, beating, death, and resurrection. And like many ceremonial days of faith, it has also come to mean one more occasion where we have to spend obscene amounts of money on clothing and food and candy; although I thank God daily for Cadbury Creme Eggs.

But even though you certainly won't find the word "Easter" in the Bible, I have no problem using it. It may indeed have once meant something decidedly non-Christian, and has gotten commercialized in the recent past, but to me it still means the reason that my name has a different connotation than it used to.

You see, Robyn used to mean Party Girl. Not quite a Drunk, but most definitely a Trollop. In my college years, I didn't sow wild oats. I assaulted life itself with them. When it came to relationships I wanted to be loved, wanted to be with someone I loved. But the only way I knew how to get that was to sleep with whichever man was in my sights at the moment- and y'all, I was a mattress with bleach-blond hair. But in all that sexual freedom, I lost any sense of self. I started to think of myself as a hole; and I mean that in the crudest sense of the word. That seemed like the only part of me that mattered, the only part anyone cared about, whether they were enjoying the benefits or not. I was celebrated for being a strumpet, and I carried that badge proudly until I realized that no one asked about my hopes, my dreams, my thoughts, my worries, my fears. As long as I was Party Girl, they were good. But I started to hate sex, and that ended everyone's fun.

I grew up in church. And when faced with the ubiquitous existential meltdown I did what I was taught to do. I prayed. And a curious thing happened over the next few months. Things just started to happen to steer me in particular directions. And whenever I prayed, I felt interesting. Interested. Alive. Loved. So, so loved. Just like all these romance heroes I read about, Jesus pursued me. He wooed me, and won me. And I found a number of things I was searching for.

My life now is admittedly not perfect. There are still frustrations large and small, crises and monotony, but in the past 20 years Robyn has come to mean so much more. Wife, mother, writer, reader, friend, dreamer, minister. Who has hopes, dreams, thoughts, worries, and fears. Who absolutely LOVES sex. And who has a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.

So whether you're going to be celebrating a different faith than mine, joining me in a special Sunday service, or just having fun with eggs and chocolate, I wish you a very Happy Easter.


StarvingWriteNow said...

And a happy Easter to you too, dearest. I plan on going to a seriously long Easter Vigil service at my church and seriously contemplating, now that I am alone again, how I want to start over (again) and where I want to go with the rest of my life. Should be interesting.

Kimber An said...

Awesome testimony, Robyn.
Happy Easter.

Robyn said...

Beth, I'll say a prayer for you. I have a feeling you'll land on your feet.

Thanks, Kimber.

Bernita said...

It is the resurrection we celebrate.
We are an Easter people.

Robyn said...

"We are an Easter people." I love that.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Beautiful, my friend.

You are an inspiration.

Robyn said...

Thank you, Jenny. And I hope you are feeling better after your wisdom teeth got yanked out.

December/Stacia said...

I think you and I lived the same life for a while, Robyn, right down to the bleached hair.

Robyn said...

And now we're happy old married women. Go figure.