Easter was rather subdued this year. This winter has been a strangely hard one, a yo-yo of cold and snow interspersed with warm temperatures that keep the roads muddy from unfinished road work last fall. The weather seems undecided what it wants to do. Life itself feels uncertain. In this post-Easter season which seems perhaps more “aftermath” than “afterglow,” I ponder “Days of Joy and Laughter.”
For centuries in Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant countries, the week following Easter Sunday, included “Bright Sunday,” (The Sunday After Easter). It was observed by the faithful as “Days Of Joy And Laughter” with parties and picnics to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Churchgoers and pastors played practical jokes on each other, drenched each other with water, told jokes, sang and danced.
This custom was begun by the Greeks in the early centuries of Christianity and was known as “Holy Humor Sunday.” Still celebrated in some churches, it is sometimes known as “Joke Sunday”, as in the joke is on the devil because Jesus conquered death.
How do we recapture that sense of lighthearted living, that capability to rebound from disappointment or hardship? Ironically, or perhaps not, April is National Stress Awareness Month. (I learned this from my Silver Sneakers site, which was promoting healthful habits like proper nutrition and exercise. I am now signed up for Zumba online in the morning. We’ll see how that goes!)
I am reminded that one way to address difficulties is to pay attention to one’s body, the signals we give ourselves of what we need. I can fight sleep like a child when what my body is saying is “Please take me to bed. I’m tired.” I can reach for sweets when I’m fully aware that a dose of protein is what my body is in search of. I can collapse on the couch when my awareness is that I would feel so much better if I took even a short walk. Yes, yes, of course, sometimes it can be wise to collapse on the couch or to have that cookie. We can indulge ourselves in some way without making it an habitual practice.
And, as always, we can stop long enough to ask ourselves, “What am I grateful for in this moment?” “Count your blessings!” as the old hymn goes.
Let us live into spring, giving attention to our wellbeing and our blessings.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: Recipe for Life from Thrifty Fun (*or I suggest design your own. 😊)
- 1 cup good thoughts
- 1 cup consideration for others
- 1 cup kind deeds
- 3 cups forgiveness
- 2 cups well beaten faults
- Tears of joy, sorrow and sympathy
- 4 cup prayer and faith