An Easter in Holy Quarantine
I observed Palm Sunday this year with a walk around my parent's sleepy North Carolina neighborhood. This is my first Palm Sunday with family in North Carolina in four years! I look around at the stately Southern homes that line the streets and the perfectly manicured lawns empty of children playing. There are no Easter egg hunts this year. The kiddos stay inside or walk begrudgingly at their mother's hip, waving hello to their friends from a safe six-foot distance. The doors lack the adornment of palm crucifixes. The empty door spaces make me the most uncomfortable.
I left home at seventeen-years-old. I left the community I grew up in, and I entered a new one. Its culture was different; its customs were different. I was different. The community was Catholic. On Palm Sunday, I would spend 15 minutes folding and twisting a palm leaf in a lame attempt to mold it into a crucifix. After destroying three or four palm leaves, I would have a successful experience and place the palm leaf on my empty door. The toil to fill my door was symbolic of how I toiled to fill my life with a new community. Adorning my door was a form of participation in the local normal and a proud declaration of my integration into the community. An integration that was rocky at times and molded me into the woman I am today.
As a student in a religiously diverse university, I identify as a Black Southern Baptist; but I still participate in Catholic traditions such as those of Holy Week. My experiences in a Catholic community inform how I express my faith today. On Palm Sunday, I would typically attend my school's mass service and accept a palm leaf. One may assume that my crucifix making has improved over the years—it has not. Nevertheless, I place a palm crucifix on my door.
This Palm Sunday, back in the Baptist South, there are no palm leaves to fold. I am not an independent woman living on my own but a child living with my parents. Upholding the religious rituals of my childhood not of my womanhood, I am a child again.
I have backstepped. I feel like a child when I am called to bring something to my mother that she is perfectly capable of getting herself. I feel like a child again when my mother walks into my room unannounced. I feel--like a child--again. But, have I not always been a child of The Father? How often does the parent of the universe use His children as vessels for things that He, the creator of Heaven and Earth, is perfectly capable of doing Himself? How often does He intrude on His children without warning?
The parent-child relationship is an example of Deus Imitatio. A reminder that what a child has is not by entitlement but grace. God has graced me with phenomenal parents, and it is a blessing to be under their fine authority. I am a child of my parents. I am a child of God. These are titles that I can never out-grow. I am--their child--always.
During this "Holy Quarantine," I pray for humility. In quiet isolation, I grow in my faith. It is only by the love of the Father, the blood of the Savior and the comfort of the Spirit that I've gotten to grow in life. Easter is about allowing the Lord to fill the empty parts of your soul with His love, demonstrated with the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is about letting the spirit of salvation mold you into a mighty soldier of the cross. Easter is not about my ability to mold a leaf to fill an empty door because I am so grown
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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.