By Doris Deits
Ahhh, the sweet smell of chocolate bunnies, magical jelly beans and the adrenaline rush of the egg hunt…Easter is almost here!
Growing up, my family attended church on a regular basis. But at Easter, our church was always packed to the gills – standing room only if you didn’t get there early.
One year, about the age of 7 or 8, I heard the Priest talking about how full the church was at Easter compared to the other Sundays. I don’t remember exact words, but it sounded like the Priest was telling everyone that if they didn’t come to church on the other Sundays, they weren’t welcome on the Easter Sundays.
While I was no child prodigy of the bible, I was pretty sure my Sunday school teacher told us that God loved everyone. In my naiveté my heart ached for the people who I thought just got kicked out and could no longer come back to church. “Where would they go?” I wondered. I felt they would be lost and alone, forever banished.
An adult attending that service may have heard things differently than did my young ears, but it marked a moment in my life when I became aware of a duality in life. On the one hand I was being taught that people are supposed to ‘be nice.’ And on the other I saw that the big people (adults) were ‘not nice.’ Especially that priest.
Later that spring I had my first communion. This is a ritual where all the kids go to confession for the first time to confess their ‘sins’ to God and be cleansed. Now, at that tender age, I was harboring a real bona-fide sin. I had stolen a packet of gum.
Heart pounding, palms sweating, I entered the small dark confessional box – apparently sins can only be admitted in darkness with faces hidden under the pretense of anonymity. Terrified the priest would know my voice and banish me from church forever, I assured him that I had committed no sins whatsoever.
In a gentle and warm, velvety, irresistible voice the priest whispered that surely there must be something I had done wrong? Panic surged through my body, ‘he knows I’m a liar AND a thief!’
Faced with impending banishment, I knew I had one last chance to save myself. I had to give him something, so I told him I fought with my brother and didn’t always listen to my mom. It worked. I was assigned 3 Hail Mary’s. My body trembled with relief as I fled that chamber of terror. I never went to confession again.
As a child, my fear of banishment directed my actions. I threw my sense of honesty and salvation out the door for something more important – survival! That survival instinct would over-ride my caring nature time and time again, even to this day.
I now understand that when a person is in fear, no matter their age, they will do whatever is needed to feel safe. That survival instinct will rule every time. When a person feels safe and has their basic needs met, they tend to be kind, generous and caring. All humans house both of these polar opposite aspects within themselves, which seem in constant conflict with each other.
In metaphysics, this duality within human nature is the focus of much study. Learning to stop reacting from a perspective of fear (survival) and choosing to respond from a higher perspective of Divine Love (our caring nature) is done by attempting to think with the heart.
The heart is believed to be where the energetic quality of love is housed in the body. The challenge is that when we are under pressure or feel threatened we have to override our instinctive survival nature and move our thinking into the energy of the heart. By moving into the heart’s energy of love we can respond from a place of compassion as we deal with the matter at hand. The more we can do this, the better we feel about ourselves and how we interact with others.
In a sincere attempt to think from the heart, we can find practical solutions to conflict rather than try to verbally behead another human being for their misconduct. This Easter, let’s add more LOVE. Peace Out!