By Rev. Carol Bodeau
This week, I thought it would be interesting to see just how many ‘holidays’ there are in the month of May. I clicked on one website, which had a huge list of events that I started scrolling through…thinking it was for the whole month. And then I discovered that this initial list (at least 60 entries…it was too many to count) was just for May 1 !
This shocked me. So many things that need a name in order to be noted, to be recognized. Hundreds of holidays just in the month of May alone, and it’s not even the ‘holiday season.’ And it occurred to me that this is a symptom of something much more significant: a tendency in our world to forget that everything is sacred. Every day, every person, every being, every relationship, the simplest aspects of our lives and the most complex as well—they are all sacred.
We have to make a slew of “holidays” when we forget the basic holiness of our lives.
I love to celebrate holidays—to plan the party, buy the decorations, bake the treats, host the guests. I love the feeling of specialness, the way that dedicating a day to…something…makes us stop, pause, and pay attention. The way holidays take us out of the ordinary. And my partner, Tracy, has very little patience for these things. Well, he tolerates and indulges me. But his standard response is that all the hoopla is a distraction from the real sacredness of the mundane. And I’m coming to the conclusion he is right.
I’m beginning to think that maybe the need for the ‘holidays’ comes from the ‘ordinary’ being so out of balance, so out-of-touch with the sacred. We are moving so fast, trying to do so much, that we rarely have time to really appreciate the incredible sacredness of just being alive.
Now I know that UUs don’t necessarily use words like “sacred” and “holy” easily. But these words don’t necessarily mean religious things to me; they mean something closer to ‘sanctity’ or ‘preciousness.’ What if we lived our lives as if every single thing we encountered was precious? What if we slowed down and focused on family every day? What if we opted out of the parts of ‘normal’ life that lack holiness more often? Or imbued every day with more holiness?
I’m all in favor of an excuse to celebrate something quirky and fun once in a while (please note that May 11th this year is both “National Eat What You Want Day” and “Hostess Cupcake Day”) but perhaps we wouldn’t need so many holidays if every day was more ‘holy.’ How can we do that more in our daily lives?
I’m going to try to spend more time simply enjoying the preciousness of my cat sitting on my lap, while I watch a history of British castles and type into my laptop. I don’t need a day dedicated to ‘love your cat’ or ‘appreciate your computer.” I get that nearly every day of the year.
May your month be filled with holy-days.