Easter Sunday in Saigon
People often ask me if it is “strange” celebrating holidays in Vietnam, so far from family and friends?
It’s a good question. I have never been outside the US for Christmas but have missed birthdays, Thanksgiving, and a host of other important occasions “back home” while in Vietnam.
And, today is Easter.
A former colleague sent a text wishing me “a happy and meaningful Easter”. When I wrote back to thank her, the response in return was “although I do not know what Easter actually means”. It’s a legitimate question for non Catholics to ponder. I heard from a friend, a Franciscan, who reminded me of the message of the season and commented on my book and how it opened him up to think of Vietnam as a country, more than as a war or a cause.
Easter to me was always about two things; the resurrection of Jesus (whether you believe it as fact, myth or not at all doesn’t matter) since without it the Roman Catholic religion and Christianity would have no raison d’etre. The second thing was my children. Easter egg hunts which morphed from hidden candies in the garden to, as they got older, plastic eggs filled with quarters, silver dollars and Susan B Anthony’s made the finding more difficult – and costly.
So, on Easter, away in Asia I do have a sense of memory and (to be honest) sadness or better put, nostalgia. But I am mindful that there is only one day we can do something about – and that is today. So today I went to church, I wrote, I walked and talked to strangers,I forgave those who have done me wrong and asked for forgiveness, and I gave thanks for all the good in my life and in the world. Accepting the things I cannot change; changing the ones I can; and knowing the difference. So, Happy Easter.