Sunday, April 24, 2011

Necessary Losses and New Beginnings (...89 days)

Today is Easter Sunday, a day that signifies the end of the forty-day fasting period, Lent.  Among other things, of course.  I like the Easter holiday celebration.  Easter Mass is joyful, there's hearty food for brunch, colorful flowers, colorful outfits, egg-dying, baskets of chocolate, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire...

Ironically, I feel like my fasting period is just beginning.  I get that this sounds cliche, but I'm not referring to reducing my expenses.  I'm thinking about the period of time I'm facing, without a job, to examine my next step.  It's making me intensely focused on what I want to be do for work and how to do it.  Intense focus and meditation is partially the purpose of a fast because when you're doing "without" your thoughts tend to turn inward.

I found great comfort in today's Easter Mass homily.  At St. Cecelia's Parish in Boston, Father Unni, a priest who seems like he's right out of Southie, (who I adore, who is authentic and funny, and who I wish all my friends could hear preach) talked about loss and new beginnings.  I can't relay his entire sermon here (not because I have limited space to write, but because I was 30 minutes late to mass), but I have to share the two ideas on which his homily was based.  The ideas are simple and Father Unni gave his sources:

"Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow"
-The title of a book by Judith Viorst


"All beginnings are hard."
-A translation of Hebrew often referred to in Rabbinic literature, according to Rabbi Arthur Segal.

What I took from this is pretty straightforward:  The loss I'm undergoing now is necessary to make way for the growth I need to experience.  It is often tough, weather it's a job or something else you've been holding on to, to let go.  And beginnings are hard.  The first steps are often uncertain until we do a lot of self reflection.  Appropriate message for Easter.  Also appropriate for me and probably for many others who are making life adjustments.

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