in which i explore my views on Easter from the starting point of an unfortunate incident with a gaelic folk musician

Shortly before I became a Catholic I had a very tortuous and anxt-ridden non-thing with a gaelic folk musician[1]. I say non thing, because we never actually laid a finger on each other, but sometimes a non thing can have more pain and drama than an actual thing, don’t you find?

Anyway this whole thing had plenty of drama. I was even shipped in as eye candy in one of his folky videos but I have never actually seen the footage of me floating round the meadows in a skimpy white cotton dress[2] on a very cold day, all wistful desire and erect nipples, tearing leaves off a flower: he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me…

It transpired he loved me not.

He said I was manipulative and unchristian. I wanted to sing his songs and have his babies. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if he had taken me up on it. He was old then so he must be ancient now, I could be somewhere on Euist, playing the harp and having wrinkly sex…

But anyway before it all went horribly wrong he said a couple of things which stayed with me. He said when I was a Catholic (as opposed to just going through the conversion process as I was at the time) I would like Easter a lot better than Christmas. He also said that the best thing about being a Catholic was that you never really feel like a Catholic, but you know nobody does and we’re all in it together. Both of these things turned out to be true and I think of them often, especially at Easter.

Because Easter is now my favourite time of year. It is refreshingly un – hijacked, it doesn’t cost too much, and it lasts a few days. You don’t have to buy stuff or cook anything in particular you can just turn up at mass for quite a few days in a row and do all the stuff they say and hope that somewhere along the line you mean it. And you usually do, because its all very physical and moving and designed as if to say this is difficult, you don’t necessarily have to understand it, just do it. Kneel, bow down, mourn, adore.

And this suits me because I may be pretty rubbish at lots of other things that are easy for other people, like opening the post or putting the next loo roll on the holder, and I may never remove the things which lurk and go slimy at the back of the fridge, but what I do do is a very good line in adoration. I’m strong on weeping, happy to have a bash at anointing, and can sing songs of worship that would make your nana cry. And I like to think old JC gave a bit of a special shout out to women like me. That bit in the bible where he tells one bird not to faff about too much and be more like the one who has knelt at his feet. Or where he says it was right to throw all the expensive perfume at him. Or how the first people who he said hello to when he rose from the dead were sad ladies. Oh yes, Jesus loved an emotional woman.

So easter for me is about the few days you spend discovering that all over again. There is a process. You get your feet washed, you kiss a cross, you light a candle and get sprinkled with some water. You stick your hands in the great big hole in someone’s side and think about how painful everything is and then remember the good news again, that someone once tried to tell you that everything was ok, that you are where you are supposed to be, and you don’t have to feel like a Catholic or anything else, you just have to feel.

And that there’s always one man who loves you just the way you are. Well, two men. Because of course, when you get your heart broken by gaelic folk musicians there’s always a funny posh boy offering to take you for a pint and cheer you up…

[1] I thought about changing some details here to protect the innocent. I thought about saying he was a reggae musician or something. But then none of the harp-playing euist stuff works. Or maybe he actually was a reggae musician, and the whole Gaelic folk thing is just a red herring to protect the innocent…

[2] I was thinner then. And blonde. Not that that should matter, but to help you picture the scene.

One thought on “in which i explore my views on Easter from the starting point of an unfortunate incident with a gaelic folk musician

  1. JC was better on women than the impression that we’re given. The whole ‘Apostles’ gig with twelve men is a later addition and if you look at their performance as committed disciples they don’t do very well, particularly after the resurrection. Plus it is noteworthy that he is described as the son of Mary: to be described in those terms in Judaic culture at the time was an insult. So the efforts for ‘respectability’ through Joseph fails as he disappears, plus the two contradictory efforts to give the genealogy are rather ludicrous, seeing as they rely on him and, well, he wasn’t the daddy! Most importantly, the whole rhetoric of prophet, priest and king was inverted from a patriarchal emphasis on power and violence to passivity, compassion and sacrifice, the opposite of patriarchy. JC was an outsider, poor and anti-institutional and so many of the insights and recognitions within the Gospels come from women (and/or foreigners and marginal peoples).

    I couldn’t agree more with the preference for Easter over Christmas, particularly on the merchandise stuff. This may just be the odd perspective of a non-conformist background, but I usually find the Saturday crucial – it is the space of wtf, the time of confusion, the loss of certainty and a time of what now? which is also a time to ask questions, to find responsibility, faith and action. For me, the fruitful relationship between faith and doubt creates openness and listening is much more profitable than the security of dogma and certainty.

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