Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The path of a hare

During the week before and the few days after Easter, I’ve had a little time to gather a few random thoughts I have decided to share with everybody. It’s true, there are many things going on in the world right now which should be discussed in detail, but some things have been rattling around in my head like m&ms inside a big chocolate bunny, and I decided they needed to be said. With that in mind, here is some of what has been keeping me awake at nights, this past week or so:

No matter how badly your week is going, history says someone else had a worse one, a couple of thousand years ago. What’s more, in the long run, he didn’t seem to mind the troubles he went through, because they weren’t just on his own account. It helps to know there’s a good reason for your troubles.

Science has shown through blind studies that prayer doesn’t have the powers of healing some people say it does. However, even agnostics can occasionally find solace in knowing others are praying for loved ones, and, in rare cases, can find some therapeutic comfort in talking to a higher power -- even if only on the off-chance that there’s somebody up there, listening. And, for those who have strong beliefs in a greater deity, the word that others are praying can do wonders for morale. That can’t hurt, can it, now?

In times of crisis, e-mail, telephones, and other methods for long-distance communications don’t really seem to be enough. You need family to sit beside you while you worry. And, you need to know that family is there on the other end, taking care of the business which is causing you such concern.

When, at long last, there is truly good news, it’s okay for agnostics -- and even atheists -- to say, “Thank God”. If He’s there, He won’t be offended by His being given credit, and if He’s not -- no harm, no foul. It’s only embarrassing for a second -- your family won’t hold it over you forever.

Family isn’t always just those in your direct genetic pool. Sometimes, family comes down to who is there for you when you need support. Family is the people who leave the light on for you in the darkest nights. And, sometimes, family is just the people who make you feel as though the world isn’t really out to get you. The funny thing is, these people aren’t nearly as rare as some would have us believe.

People are a lot like jellybeans. On the outside, they’re all different colors and all sorts of flavors, from sweet to sour to spicy to nasty, but once you get past the somewhat hard, crusty exterior, they’re all the same color and equally tender. Enjoy them all. Unless they’re coconut or licorice flavors. You should just throw those away.

When you live with cats, you have to hope that the Easter Bunny is a whole lot bigger than the cats are, and that he puts his treats in spots where tomcats won’t spray. Otherwise, there’s no point in looking around your yard for eggs, candy, and toys. You might as well go to a crowded public egg hunt.

A giant mob of small children, running around screaming while holding big baskets of cheap plastic Easter eggs is a surprisingly soothing scene. If you don’t have any little kids of your own, you should try to borrow some from a neighbor or friend for an hour during the holiday. Their laughter is highly contagious.

Spring flowers are lovely. Severe respiratory allergies are not. If it’s a choice between cheery fruit trees in bloom and ease of breathing, I choose apple blossoms, every time. Call me crazy, but... well, just call me crazy. I have medications, either way. That’s the upside of living in the modern world.

The downside of living in today’s world is... for discussion on another day.

For many of those I love, the week which ends with Easter is the holiest of the year. And, for my Jewish friends, this week has given them much the same, even though Passover is not the very tip-top holiest time for them (it comes in a comfy second-ish to Yom Kippur). Both groups recognize and receive the blessings of a loving and forgiving God.

For me, this past ten-day span was a time to help me appreciate the countless blessings I’ve been given, and give me reason to ponder their source. That, too, is a gift not possible to fit in a little plastic egg.

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