As I posted just last month, I love Lent, but since the Easter Bunny stopped leaving me treats I haven't cared as much for Easter. Supposedly, Lent is the time of sorrow and Easter the time of joy, but something about the running all over town visiting all of the relatives we can pack into one day and overeating feels more stressful than joyful.
Our Easter celebration was simple this year, and we had time to reflect.
Our time in Iowa has been marked by feelings of inadequacy. I have questioned my self-worth for choosing Owen over graduate school and for working with people with disabilities rather than pursuing more glamorous career opportunities. This has caused Owen stress and sadness as he has felt responsible for my unhappiness. His sadness with my path led me to worry that he too found my achievements inadequate.
Along with my personal battle, we dealt with Owen's questions of self-worth as his counseling PhD proved more challenging than expected, and he experienced significant failure for the first time. Added to the academic stress, we faced the ill social judgements that often follow struggle. As he with me, seeing Owen face so much adversity is difficult for me.
In the midst of so much unhappiness, we forgot what it is like to feel good on a regular basis. Lent provided us the cleansing we needed. We gave up over fifty unnecessary items that had filled our junk room, worry surrounding future career goals, and self-debasing thoughts stemming from the social and academic rejection we've experienced in Iowa. In many ways we stopped trying to control the uncontrollable, and we came to a greater acceptance of who we are.
We are married. We are Lutheran (or as Owen puts it, Christian). We are not athletic. We don't always put our best feet forward. We support gay rights and don't judge people who don't. We are pro-life and don't judge people who aren't. We want to be green, but often fail. We never know what's trending on Youtube. We are imperfect, and we can't justify everything we say, do, feel, or believe.
When Easter came we were ready for rebirth. As we sat in the balcony pews of the much-more-crowded-than-usual chapel, we connected to the whole. Owen reports feeling a greater sense of independence and a greater alignment with our life in Iowa. As for me, I sensed for the first time that my purpose and my desires have aligned in the very deep down truth that I want to love God, other people, and the earth more than I want to achieve societal acceptance. With that I have come to the understanding that what I do for a living will matter far less than what I live for.