My strongest memory of Easter is the feeling of being honored as a ‘grown-up’by my father. I was 8 or 9 years old, dressing in my new spring clothes, getting ready for Catholic Easter mass. I looked in the refrigerator, which I did often, as food was a central part of our Italian family life. I saw two purple orchid corsages, each one in a large box. I knew one was for my mother, and stared at the other box, wondering, who could it be for? My father walked into the kitchen and said, do you want to wear your corsage pinned on your dress, or on your wrist? I was getting a ‘big girl corsage!’ That moment on Easter morning and the feeling of being honored as a woman penetrated deeply into my being. On a subtle level, I knew how much my father loved my mother, and somehow I knew that I would also be loved as a woman.
The German poet Rilke wrote about ‘blood memory’- those moments that penetrate so deeply, they are beyond words, beyond pictures or videos, and they define and shape our lives in mysterious ways. I don’t have any photos of myself wearing my first Easter corsage, what I have is more vivid and precious. What I did today, first thing this morning, was take a walk to the Farmer’s Market and bought a new orchid plant and several other exquisite Hawaiian flowers, feeling gratitude for my father and to the beautiful island of Maui that nurtures me today. My wish is that you honor the precious memories of your life this week-end.