Surviving Easter Mass
aster is the longest mass of the year because I have to wear a dress and my feet hurt because my shoes are so stiff. The church is crowded, and hot and smelly from the incense the altar boys pour all over. Palm Sunday mass is actually longer, but Easter feels longer because chocolate eggs wait in baskets at home. There will be an Easter egg hunt, and then ham and scalloped potatoes for dinner.
I watch the families come in and count the number of girls wearing Easter bonnets. Mom never lets me get one but this year I really wanted one to go with my First Communion dress. After the procession I gaze up at the Stations of the Cross: Jesus is condemned to death, Jesus falls the first time, Jesus falls the second and third times, until eventually Jesus dies on the cross. I stand, sing, sit, kneel and half-listen as the priest talks about spring and life and death. Spring is supposed to be about life, but ever since Greg Bob died over spring break this time of year always reminds me of death. I try to stay awake and remember this is a joyful occasion even though I don't understand how Jesus rose from the dead. Why would it take three days and what was Jesus doing in that cave all that time?
Everyone takes Communion or gets a blessing, and I recount the Easter bonnets to make sure I didn't miss any. After Communion, I think about chocolate, Easter eggs and ham. Just a few more prayers, "Peace be with you" and finally it's the recessional. The altar boys, the priest, the first and second rows file out and I follow them into a cool spring morning of chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps.