New Year’s Day is typically viewed as the start-over holiday. We make resolutions, promise to leave bad habits behind, and move forward with good intentions.
For me, Easter has always been the holiday of new beginnings. There’s a sense of joy on Easter, a sigh of relief that we made it through Lent, perhaps giving up something that we enjoyed or using those 40 days as a time to volunteer and reach out to others. And if we performed those acts of kindness without posting photos on Facebook, then just maybe we learned something about humility.
Growing up, we signaled that spiritual rebirth with our new Easter clothes – a spring coat (a topper now all but obsolete), white shoes to mark the onset of spring, and, of course, an Easter bonnet, a rare sight except for the traditional Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue.
I’ll still wear something colorful, but not new, on Easter. Old habits die hard. But what I truly value these days are my relationships with family and friends, reaching out with a phone call or email. Yet I still find many I care about holding onto hurts from years even decades ago. I visualize these grievances as huge burdens, weighing down body and soul. These negative feelings become a vortex, sucking in others around us, thus damaging their future relationships and inadvertently continuing years of misery for all involved.
Forgiveness is never easy. But we have the best possible example ever to follow on Easter. If we forgive others, then maybe, just maybe, we will be forgiven, too.