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Easter has just passed. . . our Easter. But the dates don’t matter.
In my neighborhood, the church chimes, ethereal, mystical, Byzantine, almost realize a level of the Eastern spirit.
They call us to church. They actually beckon, and I can no longer acquiesce to my laziness.
We go in order to understand and to participate in the Resurrection. For me, it is not a simple acknowledgement of a good man, a man who died for his beliefs. Simple beliefs of goodness, of compassion I can understand it only in terms of rising . . . rising metaphorically, with passion, with thanks.
Without needing to accept all the doctrines of the church, we fully emerge ourselves in the feelings, the flow of joy which comes from the thousands of little candles, the incense, the smell of the amber wax from the bees on our Mt. Hymettos, that pine covered, ancient mountain surrounding Athens.
It is a five minute walk to the old church. We walk with so many others, holding candles, passing the orange blossoms with their sweet smell, pass the pines, the wild flowers, the bright red anemones. The chanting emerges from all the churches, as old as Christianity.
And as we follow the epitafios through the streets of Papagos, we pass the homes, always lit with candles, with people on their balconies holding tightly to their own candles, we become one with them. Children in strollers, so many young people and old, all with bright eyes filled with hope. We will overcome our problems. We will survive as a race, as a nation.
The doors of the homes have their May wreaths, new tiny flowers from the gardens, from the mountains.
We rise again, like the ancient phoenix. The strength and joy comes from something outside of us, not of our creation.
Tears may flow, but through a smile.
I am making this my home. I need solitude, but I also need to feel the people all around.
Home, such an illusive concept. It becomes my home in small spurts, in gestures. The cats climb my wisteria. The oranges fall on our heads! The neighbors come, bringing small packages of cookies and red eggs. In this way, they say “welcome home.” You are a part of us.
My house is full of light. It is the lightest house I have ever seen. I delight in this light of Greece.
I have so much to be thankful for. Don’t we all?
I wish all, Kali Anastasi. A joyful rising, a prayer of hope and joy.