Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Surprises

Easter Hugs for one and all and please take a moment from your busy life to pause to reflect on the people you have loved who have died and thank God or Allah or what ever else you call your Higher Power, for the wonder of eternal life and eternal relationships.

Remember when you were a child and you went to bed knowing that in the morning there would be a great big Easter surprise waiting for you in the morning in the shape of a basket of eggs, chocolate, and little toys? I've out grown such things as the Easter Bunny, but I got an Easter surprise this morning.

A few days before Easter I decided to make lots and lots of decorated sugar cookies to give to the children at church. I mixed, rolled, cut, baked, cooled, decorated and wrapped for two days with the aide of my two seasonal part-time workers, Abez and Aniraz. Sunday morning, I had 33 packets of cookies wrapped, boxed and loaded into my car. I zipped and zoomed my way through the light traffic of a Sunday morning in Islamabad and arrived at church just on time. As I pulled up in front of the building, I was surprised to see a large and very colourful bus (in Pakistan all busses are very colourful) - Surprise #1. I hurried into the meeting, and received Surprise #2 when I noticed all the congregation was already seated and the speaker was already well into his sermon. A few minutes later, the sermon was over and the CLOSING hymn was announced. Surprise #3. Immediately after the closing prayer, the congregation leader announced that all the children were to use the washroom and then everyone would board the bus for the picnic. Surprise #4.

It seems the morning was full of rather nasty surprises. I was absent last Sunday since I was out of town and no one called to tell me of the change of time and planned picnic. I was mildly put out by this since I an a regular church attendee, but the thing that really got me mad (though I tried not to show it) was the picnic on Sunday. I've been a Mormon all my life and I've NEVER heard of Sunday service being rescheduled, cut short and substituted with a picnic. This violates several basic Mormon principles of keeping the Sabbath day holy as a day of physical rest and spiritual refreshment, a day free from buying and selling and traditional recreations. Mormons are party-hearty people, but we do our partying and picnicking on Saturday, never on Sunday.

After prayer, I rushed out to my car, got the cookies and gave them to another person to distribute after lunch and left.

The girlies were surprised to see me walk back into the house hours ahead of schedule and questioned me about what happened at church. My response? "They're all pagans!" I really try to adjust and adapt to the different culture here, but today I just couldn't do it. Anyway, I think God agrees with me on this one 'cause today was cool and rainy. Ha ha on you!

Anyway, I did have a wonderful Easter thanks to my very helpful, loving and great cooking daughters who helped prepare the meal, and to Crayon who brought her wonderful children over for me to play with. We ate cookies and roast leg of lamb and lemon sponge cake and hid eggs and found eggs most, and hid them again and found even less, several times till it became a REAL egg hunt by the adults to find the missing eggs so they wouldn't go bad and smelly in forgotten nooks and crannies all around the house. Good fun.