Friday is Good Friday. It is also the first night of Passover.
When I decided to go ahead and follow my conscience to be baptized and to become Christian and join the Catholic Church, I made the commitment to continuing to observe many of the Jewish customs that I had grown up with. Not to make too fine a point of it, but my kids are still Jewish, and for me my Catholicism is a very organic and logical extension of my own Jewishness.
This was my third observed Lent, my first after my baptism. I’ve had no problem abstaining from meat on Fridays and giving up something. For two years, it was Diet Coke and this year it was the McDonald’s Breakfast Burrito. The burrito holds a place in both my stomach and my heart as an amazing breakfast food as well as a fond memory of my first teaching job.
As a kid, Passover wasn’t terribly easy, but it also wasn’t terribly hard. We gave up bread, pasta, rice, certain vegetables and that meant that we truly gave them up. Nowadays you can practically eat anything and it’s kosher for Passover; even cake, and sandwich rolls. When my kids were really little, I bought the cereal (the box was tastier) and the potato chips without corn syrup. They hated all of it, so we went back to buying nothing but matzo and potato pancake mix.
This year, though we’ll be traveling to my mother-in-law’s, and it’s Holy Week, and Easter is Sunday, which isn’t usually a problem since I’ve abstained from chocolate and cake and anything not allowed.
But this year, I just don’t feel it.
I didn’t feel Rosh Hashanah, probably because the kids had school and I let them go.
I did observe Yom Kippur, but Chanukah was forgotten most of the week with everyone’s crazy afterschool schedules and my son’s work. We don’t do eight presents because that gets too expensive, but we do always get dreidls, gelt and potato pancakes. Except this year, I didn’t make any.
I’m not depressed; it’s not that, but I’m not feeling it.
I feel the importance of Passover; of the Exodus, but the joy of the Exodus is blended and jumbled with the joy of the Resurrection, and the latter seems more important even though it’s not a competition.
I feel guilty. It’s more than I don’t wanna also, but it both feels wrong to observe and wrong to ignore. I need to sort out a compromise for myself that is both emotionally satisfying and religiously authentic.
The customs and traditions were always important to me, and I don’t want to lose or forget that part of myself. It may take some time until I find the balance that I’m looking for.