“Back in the day”, before the NSPCA, shopping for Easter shoes garnered the prize of a tiny pastel chick for the cooperative child. We would select from amongst the array of pink, blue, green and yellow fluffy balls of feathers. My grandfather, Papa, had a chicken yard and we knew our babies would one day have a home. Papa cautioned that we could not add the biddies to the general poultry population until they shed those colored feathers. He explained that a chick different from the others would be in danger. Entering the chicken yard with a visible wound, a broken wing or garish pink feathers would provoke the others to peck at the chick, sometimes to the point of death. Barnyard bullying was a reality to be avoided.
In a sometimes unkind world, children sense a danger to being “different”. To avoid being pecked/bullied, we learn to hide wounds if at all possible. In varying ways we sought to be part of the crowd, defined differently by different species. Survival instinct, perhaps. In the 50’s and 60’s the definition of a person who “fit” for this middle class white girl included living in a “Father Knows Best” home, having a pony tail, and not being fat. As a chubby girl for a number of those years I already had one foot out of the crowd. Humor, decent grades and loving parent-type figures helped me survive. I looked around me at the rest of the crowd and could readily rank those who were popular or marginal or outcast and waiting for a good pecking. Vigilance was required to stay a part of the community of choice.
I am enjoying a reconnection with old girlfriends from elementary and high school. After forty or so years of living in assorted barnyards, we are planning get-togethers. We biddies spent last weekend together. (Forgive my over-use of the poultry metaphor).Now in our sixties, much of the pretense of adolescence has faded. Assisted by wine, too little sleep and a sea breeze, our stories began to flow. Tales of painful home lives, self-doubt, trauma, fears and bad choices are shared. Pastel feathers begin to fall away and I feel the alive. I rejoice in our common humanity and the sense of community that brings. I thank those beautiful women for being real and for the healing that offers. Weary from the late hours and “partying”, I return home having experienced a pre-Easter revival of spirit.
Sunday I will celebrate Easter and give thanks to a God who invites us to be real. A God who self-revealed in the person of Jesus and, as Thomas discovered, rises with wounds still visible. Healed, but scarring visible. The paradoxes of faith begin when our brokenness is acknowledged by an accepting community and we experience healing. Blessings on all who honor our common humanity.
Enjoy the resurrection!
April 4, 2012