Thanks, Easter break

WHEN I was a kid, the Easter holiday was always about the Visita Iglesia, a tradition that has you visiting several churches to recite the Stations of the Cross.

When I was single, I used to spend my Easter break in Boracay. I remember one time when I had a marketing event scheduled on Easter Sunday in Manila.  Everything was prepared. Celebrities had confirmed. All staff and physical arrangements had been checked. However, the head merchandiser called to say I needed to be at the event. I had to cut short my serene Boracay trip and fly back to Manila on Black Saturday.

My best Easter holiday was in April 2006, when I became a mom. All the hurt from the C-section procedure became worthwhile every time I carried Meagan. I also loved breastfeeding and storing at one time 109 ounces of milk. I also spent each day preparing checklists, child-development exercises and supplies to ensure Meagan would be all set when I returned to work.

Today, I love “Stay-at-Home” Easters. We either spend time in my husband’s hometown in Bicol or stay here in Manila. I love spring cleaning. I love spending quiet time with my husband and my kids.  I love having time to read. Here are some books my family recommends:

  • I recommend Raising Accountable Kids by John and Karen Miller. It’s an easy read, providing practical parenting tools with a more long-term view.
  • Meagan recommends The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha. She said it allows the reader to see the many things you can be thankful for. She also recommends The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook by Rosanna Pansino, who is her favorite YouTube personality.
  • Marcus recommends his Pokémon Pocket Comics and Heromice: Flood Mission by Geronimo Stilton.

And we love planning our Visita Iglesia. Last year, we did the churches in Metro Manila. My husband and I showed our kids the Manila Cathedral, where we got married.

We started with Sacred Heart Parish in Quezon City.  Midway, we stopped at the University of Santo Tomas in España, Manila. We ended at Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila.

My favorite activity during Easter is the time for personal reflection. I would usually do the following ritual:

“Declogging” Thursday. I like to start with physical declogging.  I like to clean the house of things we haven’t used for quite some time. It’s also a good time to teach the kids to donate to Segunda Mano, a church program which shares second-hand things to people in need. I also try to finish my pending work on this day.

Prayerful Friday. This is our usual time for Visita Iglesia. This year we will visit Quezon City churches, and maybe end in Antipolo Church.

Reflective Saturdays. I like to journal on Saturdays or join recollections. Christmas is the time when I give thanks for all the year’s blessings.  My birthdays have always been about thanking people who give so much meaning to my life. Easter has always been both spiritual and personal. It’s about reflecting providence. It is about thanking God for the life I’ve been given. It’s about seeing hardships, past and present, and thanking the strength I have gathered in the face of these.

Celebratory Sundays. It is the last day of a long vacation. It’s a time for family. It’s also a good day for my last relaxation before work starts. I sometimes get a massage and read a book.

Last year I joined the recollection of Fr. Manoling Francisco at the Ateneo Law School in Rockwell, Makati. I’m grateful for that experience because it taught me to look back at what the history of Easter means to me today.  It reminded me of God’s presence. It taught me to be faithful like Jesus in my daily life. It taught me to reflect on my faith through service to others.  Just like how Jesus carried His Cross, it pushed me to show commitment to life till the end. And amid any hardship, it gave me assurance of new life.

I’m not a very religious person. I don’t go to mass everyday. I don’t pray the Rosary often. But I believe I have strong spirituality. I bear strong faith in God’s providence. I strive hard each day to avoid the hypocrisy of established beliefs. And each Easter, I hope when I visit all the churches, I feel genuine harmony between my deep prayers and the power of my actions.

Happy 2017 Easter, everyone.

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