Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: Pascha Memories

Note: In the Eastern Orthodox Church we call Easter, Pascha. We follow a different calendar so we usually celebrate on a different date. We celebrate it late Saturday night, instead of Sunday morning.

I have mentioned before that since my husband and I have been married, we haven't celebrated Pascha twice in the same place. As we were reminiscing one night, it occurred to me that it's kind of nice now because each Pascha has distinct memories. They don't all blend together, like they do for my childhood.

Sweet Girl's "basket"
Our first year we were in South Carolina. The service was to start at 11:00 pm, which meant we'd have to rush home after the game, change, and rush to church. However, that night there was a rain delay. The game started, but then it began to rain. They never canceled the game, just waited... about two hours, if I remember correctly. So we were about two hours late to church, but we still had a good hour to attend, so we didn't miss everything. Fortunately, there was no game the next day so we basically slept all day!

The next year we were in Virginia. That April was especially hard on us financially. We started out renting an apartment and I wasn't able to find a job. I literally didn't know how I was going to buy food for us. Easter was a few weeks before Pascha that year, and after a game Will handed me a $100 gift card for Wal-mart. It said, "To the married baseball couple." (We were the only married ones.) It was truly a miracle!

For Pascha, the team was on the road in Maryland. So on Saturday I drove out so we could attend a Greek church together. It was unique enough for us to experience Pascha in mostly Greek, but the feast afterwards was quite a culture shock! The first thing on the buffet was this good looking soup and we both got a big bowl. But after one bite, we knew we could eat no more. We were told later it was Lamb Brain Soup - a delicacy to Greeks, but I'm quite American and I felt very bad letting it go to waste. We will always remember that one!

Opening a present from Grandma and Grandpa
 Our third Pascha we celebrated in Florida at the tail end of Spring Training. We left for Virginia on Pascha (after been up half the night!). We were attending a Greek church, so the service was more familiar to us having attended one the previous year. There was no feast at the church, so we went to Perkins and dug into some awesome breakfast. On our drive up to Virginia (where we had been the year before), through a relay of phone calls (but not initiated by us), it was determined that we could stay rent-free in a brand new condo just minutes from the field! Not only had we not known where we would live before we got to a place, but this situation was the best one so far! We felt the spirit of Pascha all around us!

First egg hunt!
 Last year we were in Maine. Since we had moved their shortly before and were trying to get Sweet Girl on a different sleep schedule (which resulted in much less sleep for both of us while she was still adjusting), we decided that her and I would not go to the midnight service. That year, Easter and Pascha were on the same Sunday, and there was no baseball game! So during the day we celebrated with our wonderful host parents and went to the afternoon service (Agape Vespers) as a family. It was a wonderful day of fellowship!

She took it quite seriously.
This year was a whirlwind. Early Saturday evening I tried to stop and pray that I would be able savor the moments. Even as I tried, it went by so fast! Sweet Girl did not get to sleep until 2:00 am, but she was great. She sat with my mother most of the time and seemed to be in awe of the joyful service with all it's different things happening. As for me, I was tired at times, but I could feel the joy as well, touching my hard, sinful heart, and lifting it up, if just a little. It is a hard thing to comprehend, the Resurrection of our Lord. Hard to even try. But God graciously let me see a glimmer a time or two during that awesome celebration.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter/Pascha as well! 

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Christ is Risen from the dead!
Trampling down death by death!
And to those in the tombs,
bestowing Life!

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