Growing up in a vicarage, Easter was always a busy time. It sounds fairly self evident, but a lot of people, especially if they aren’t regular church goers, don’t realise that Easter is far more important to the Church calendar than Christmas. Of course, being a typical child I was far more interested in the chocolate – being a vicar’s son didn’t make the slightest dent in that.
While my own faith and spirituality ebbs and flows and twists and turns on a regular basis, the one thing I miss from those days is the sense of anticipation and excitement that there always was in the vicarage. There were so many things at Easter to anticipate. It might be for the planning and logistics of the running of the parish and who would be on duty for which services (clue: no one wanted to do the eight am service after the dawn or midnight service). More selfishly for me it could be the desire for chocolate confections or the arrival of family for holidays.
Even more loaded with tension and anticipation were the various parties thrown for the congregation – which might range from pot-luck picnics if the weather was good or wine and cheese nibbles if it wasn’t. These were ‘all hands to the pumps’ affairs, with myself and all my brothers pressed into service taking coats, distributing drinks and circulating snacks to all and sundry – it’s probably why I always have time for anyone performing a similar job at any events I end up at.
These days though, it’s usually me doing the plotting and planning, and so tend to get wrapped up in organising things for other people rather than being able to enjoy them. If you ever see me at something I’ve organised, I’ll usually be the one looking slightly glum because I’m holding myself to an impossibly high standard. I’ll be worrying about balancing people and personalities, making sure the costs are covered and that things are going as smoothly as possible.
Contingency plans and alternative ways of doing something will be buzzing and competing for space in my brain and so I’ll be somewhat introspective, or distracted, or grumpy or a combination of all of the above. When I forgot how to button my own shirt while dressing for my wedding last year, it wasn’t nerves about getting married, it was a state of pure distraction from dealing with last minute cancellations, people not turning up at all, getting cravats issued to people and waiting for something to go wrong that I hadn’t anticipated. And that’s just from what I can consciously recall off the top of my head.
Thankfully my Best Man was on hand to dress me and remind me that there wasn’t anything else I could do now – the hotel staff would have it all in hand or would deal with it. It didn’t stop me worrying all evening though.
How is all this relevant to Easter? Well, it’s only by way of illustration of the sort of nineteen to the dozen things that run through my head, and probably goes some way to explaining why I’ve been so grumpy today. T’other half and I have had a bit of a grouchy start to the day – and it’s just been over something small, like not getting an Easter egg this year.
Adult me has spoken and grumped and we’ve batted it back and forth in our usual brutal and loving way, but the little kid in me is still looking round and feeling somewhat discombobulated, having made sure to get one for everyone else. And of course, being Easter Sunday morning, the local Tesco is shut which is entirely right and proper. It’s all just a bit of a ‘humph’.
Right – whinging done – roast beef dinner with all the trimmings is about to be served up to me, I have a glass of stout in hand, and the second series of Game of Thrones to watch with a very long suffering wife.
See you later, and Happy Easter.