April 5, 2010

Signs of Spring and Celebration

During my childhood, I recognized that spring lurked around the corner when my mother piled us into the car to go in search of that perfect Easter outfit. I have fond memories of pastel confections sewn into frilly dresses, shiny white patent leather shoes, and a matching bonnet or hair bow. Each year, I waited in eager anticipation for Easter Sunday to dawn so I could wear my Easter dress to church. Of course, the Easter Bunny featured a lot in my expectations for a few of those years, but memories of egg hunts and baskets dim compared to my recollection of dressing up.

My excitement culminated with our arrival at church. The congregation resembled a garden of beautiful flowers in pastel shades. We complimented and admired each other and preened like peacocks. After a joyous, celebratory worship service, my family went to the Easter buffet at The Clemson House (it was a nice hotel back then, not a dorm), and later we returned home where Dad memorialized our special day in photographs.


I stopped buying a special Easter outfit years ago. The churches I've attended have not exhibited the same enthusiasm that I remember from my childhood, and I have told myself that spending money on a special outfit secularizes the holiday. But this past Easter Sunday, I found myself contemplating what to wear and feeling disappointed that my outfit didn't reflect the joyful purpose of the day. The more I thought about this the more I missed the special efforts that people used to make to express their elation on this day. When we arrived at church, I found myself studying the clothes that the members of my congregation chose to wear, and except for a few people, everyone looked like they might on any other day. It felt wrong to me.

Is it incorrect to feel this way? I believe that I should celebrate the resurrection each and every day, but somehow the special efforts from my childhood reinforced the promise of the newness of life. I miss the special services. I miss the atmosphere of joy and celebration.

Whether your past includes Easter celebrations like mine did, you probably have had this feeling somewhere in your life--the loss of the joy that defined an event in your life. What do you miss? Or maybe you still buy that special outfit and experience that incredible newness of life.

8 comments:

ChristinaT said...

I have a dress that I pull out for Easter and very special occasions that I particularly love. Bryan and I laughed at each other on Sunday as we donned our Easter finery. The kids however had matching blue and brown checked madras clothes. Gwyn had a dress with a monogram and the boys had matching shorts and brown golf shirts. Not patent shoes, mind you, but we thought they looked pretty cute and I mentioned to Bryan that we probably wont be able to do the matching outfits for much longer. That's sad.

We always got a Christmas dress to wear to the Nutcracker and church on Sunday, and an Easter dress when I was growing up. Loved it save the tomboy years 3rd grade to 9th grade when I thought dresses and tights were invented by men to make women uncomfortable. Still a pants girl to this day, although I am a lot more comfortable in a skirt or dress than I used to be.

But to your point everyone was excited to get their new duds and parade around to our clapping and admiration. The best was when Heath drew a picture in church of a cross with Jesus on it and an arrow to a cave then another arrow to Jesus with wavy lines around him (meaning he is alive) and a last arrow to a drawing of a city complete with sky scrapers. Well at least he was listening about the basics of the story, right?

Tanks for the Memories said...

I have a dress that I pull out for Easter and very special occasions that I particularly love. Bryan and I laughed at each other on Sunday as we donned our Easter finery. The kids however had matching blue and brown checked madras clothes. Gwyn had a dress with a monogram and the boys had matching shorts and brown golf shirts. Not patent shoes, mind you, but we thought they looked pretty cute and I mentioned to Bryan that we probably wont be able to do the matching outfits for much longer. That's sad.

We always got a Christmas dress to wear to the Nutcracker and church on Sunday, and an Easter dress when I was growing up. Loved it save the tomboy years 3rd grade to 9th grade when I thought dresses and tights were invented by men to make women uncomfortable. Still a pants girl to this day, although I am a lot more comfortable in a skirt or dress than I used to be.

But to your point everyone was excited to get their new duds and parade around to our clapping and admiration. The best was when Heath drew a picture in church of a cross with Jesus on it and an arrow to a cave then another arrow to Jesus with wavy lines around him (meaning he is alive) and a last arrow to a drawing of a city complete with sky scrapers. Well at least he was listening about the basics of the story, right?

Valerie said...

With eight kids in the family, new anything was a rare event, but I remember the joy in getting dressed up in our best, whatever it was, however many times it had been handed down. The first day of school was a big deal, too.

Most of our church's members dress up a bit for worship, and I like it that way. We're in God's house--jeans and T-shirts don't seem reverent enough.

I didn't buy a new dress for Easter Sunday, but I did wear a dress I bought two years ago. It's my newest dress, and has been worn only once or twice: my best!

Laura Styles said...

I remember wearing the little white gloves, shiny black patton mary janes and my tiny white wicker pocketbook that made me feel like a "real grown lady." It was so special and it certainly did help to set aside the day in my young mind that "this was exciting and different from any other day." This year, I made sure that my boys had special clothes to wear (Cade was so handsome in his lilac shirt with his suit and tie), but I didn't made any special efforts for myself. I certainly did feel the letdown!

Julie Boozer said...

Barbara:

I enjoyed this week's commentary. I, too, remember dressing up for Easter and I do miss that excitement not just of having a new outfit but going to church with my family on such a special day -- a day of promise and hope. My mother would always make my dress out of the same fabric that she made her own, although she would add lace or some other detail to make mine a little more special and age appropriate! Something that I have thought about doing is buying a new outfit for someone less fortunate. For instance, a nice suit for a women at a shelter to use for job interviews -- a gift of promise and hope of a renewed life. Maybe this would bring a similar joy to our hearts. Now, I am asking myself, what am I waiting for?!!!

Terri said...

Funny...I had similar thoughts yesterday. Saw many people in jeans, which while I go to a contemporary church, seemed rather odd for Easter! I wore an outfit that wasn't new, but not worn very often!

Hope y'all had a good Easter!

Susan M. Boyer said...

Spring, and Easter in particular, still bring out that special joy of new beginnings for me. But I confess, I haven't bought an Easter dress in years. Part of that is I'm an oddity--a woman who hates to shop.

Barbara V. Evers said...

Susan, I don't like to shop either. A frustrating exercise in my opinion.