I've never experienced Easter with so much anticipation in my life before. Though I wouldn't say I managed to fully dive into the participation of the Lent and Holy Week traditions, I was aware they were there and they've driven the themes of worship and devotion at church and somewhat at home for months now. It will dominate worship for some time yet- Easter is a season in the Episcopal Church, not only a day.
Last night I got home from work to find my wife carried through on my suggestion that we participate in the potluck refreshments for after the services. She's got an entire walnut bread braid in advanced stages of preparation. She goes to bed and I finish cooking it. It's a beautiful creation. Chatting with my wife I find out a little of gossip of what has been going on at general conference, and I find more when browse the web. I'm worried. What negative messages about people like me will be delivered over the pulpit? Why does someone feel a need to stir the pot by casting dissenting votes to not sustain church leaders? Sure it probably felt good to them and showed more prominently the weirdness of a vote where a no vote is not only meaningless to outcomes but also is considered socially inappropriate and probably a violation of covenant obligations. But, in real terms, other than making people mad it accomplished pretty much nothing. Will my family think I'm just another "crazy angry person" instead of realizing I'm just me? Will they even care who or what I am if simple answers are provided to those questions over the pulpit?
Easter Morning arrives. The church is packed, and the service is practically a burst of joy. Shouts of Alleluja, energetic singing, a professional organist, and high church liturgy all combine for an experience the like I've experienced no where else in my life. The contrast of Easter being routinely almost eclipsed by General Conference in Mormonism is strong. Different faiths, different traditions. Just being able to remember the disrespectful things I learned to think about other faith tradition's ways of interacting with Christ compared to this massive eruption of Christ centered joy in Easter make it hard to forget the difference. Looking back, other than the Easter candy I'm not sure my family had much in terms of Easter traditions. Of course, we weren't big on tradition as a family anyways and, well, General Conference often falls on top of Easter so why would there be? Easter candy is a tradition that will continue in any case. Our kids gather Easter eggs outside of the church and we enjoy refreshments. There is practically a feast going on. The two loaves of bread we made are completely consumed and the kids stuff themselves on candy. Friendly church members who don't want to take any of the candy home help out, making sure our kids don't lack for chocolate.
Afterwards at home, we relax some. I'd forgotten how big of a deal Easter is in our new tradition, so I had forgotten to ask off work in time. I don't want to go to work. I don't want to deal with my hyper Mormon coworkers who will be more hyper Mormon than usual because its General Conference time. Because its tasty, soothing, and helps me feel like I'm putting emotional distance between myself and my hyper mormon judgmental coworkers- I brew up some tea to take to work with me. Nothing shouts non mormon like a travel coffee mug with yummy tea in it. Too bad I was in such a hurry to get out the door, I can never get the tea just right when I'm in a hurry and I'm still experimenting with how best to make it.
When I get to work, I push the distance between my hyper mormon co workers and myself even farther apart by going to the back of the room where a little group of mostly non Mormon's hang out. They won't judge the tea- why would they? As far as food goes, in this crowd I'm just weird because I only cook with alcohol instead of drinking it. When I go to the break room, I find someone has turned on General Conference on the large screen TV. I don't want to listen to General Conference, so I go outside instead. I'm still worried, what are my parents and family and friends hearing about "people like me" that they'll assume is gospel truth just because someone whose never met me before claims to be able to speak for all the ex mormon's in the world and explain their spiritual characteristics. How do I stop caring? I probably never will. At least not fully.
I wish I were home. It may be a slow day at work, but working holidays is lame when I'd rather be with my family. I read some in a devotional book, a lot in a fun book, help customers fix their telecommunications, and get yelled at a few times by customers. "Hail thee Festival Day" is still ringing in my ears, but Easter at work just doesn't cut it.