It’s amazing how quickly one’s attitude to things - to life - can change sometimes.
It was only a few days ago when I said to my mum, reminiscing celebrating Easter in Poland: “Seriously? With all that church-going involved?”.
It must have been a day or two later when I made a sudden decision: I would go to church this Easter Sunday.
It was a big thing. I haven’t been to church in over a year - except the two weddings I attended in the meantime, which weren’t proper mass anyway. I never seemed to have the time, but in all honesty, I just gave up on devout religion anyway.
I’m not strongly religious, but I used to be - as a kid. I remember a nun, teaching us religion in primary school, saying that journalists are all atheists; and also remember thinking (since I already knew I wanted to be a journalist) that I would be different. I would be better.
Things went downhill from there and my morals changed dramatically - which is probably an inevitable side effect of growing up. But I always felt this tingle of obligation, this pinch of guilt that even for Christmas I didn’t make any effort.
Making the this time decision was easy: after all, I’ve been jobless for months, living with my mum for just a bit too long now, with no obligations and plenty of free time on my hands. More importantly, however, I understood why I hadn’t felt any excitement about the upcoming holidays: I realised the obvious fact that Easter is a Christian’s holiday, and the only way to celebrate it properly is to approach it as a Christian.
I missed out on the worst part - the Lent, but at least I made my decision early enough to attend Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. There were only about 10 people in the church, and I didn’t know the words of the prayers in English anyway; but it was a staggering experience - combined with the fact that I was given an opportunity to confess.
Suddenly, I felt liberated, and lighter inside. I heard uplifting words from the priest, just for my ears, and I began to feel excited about the next day, the next week and year - and this Easter, most importantly. I was happy.
That night I managed to watch some of the Senna documentary, which - as a Formula 1 fan - I had been intending for quite a while. Now, I don’t believe in destiny or signs from God, but sometimes I can’t help the feeling that things happen for a reason, in their own time. There was a powerful belief and trust in God conveyed in Senna’s portrayal, whilst his views on life and human’s place on Earth were not those of a crazed devotee, but of a conscious, intelligent man empowered by his faith.
On Saturday I attended blessing of the foods - together with dozens of Polish and half-Polish families from the village. There were about a 100 Easter baskets awaiting to be blessed according to the Polish tradition, and the church was full to the burst with mums, dads and children, some of them rushing in late from work. I missed being back in Poland then very strongly.
This morning I attended an English mass and for the first time in months I received Holy Communion. It felt right; and as I returned home and shared the bread and egg from the blessed basket with my mum and her partner I regretted they hadn’t participated in the experience with me.
I’m sure that if they did willingly they would have felt happier - even if just for a few days. Because, in the end, it’s not about the superiority of one religion over another, believing it holds a pass to Heaven. It’s about picking up some broken pieces of your life - and finally making peace with yourself.