Easter Weekend

What happens when you take one homesick girl, add a holiday weekend, and subtract any hope of her seeing her family?

My worst Easter weekend, ever. And hopefully this was the first and only like it!

Easter 2012 marked the first Resurrection Weekend I’ve ever spent without my family. I tried not to think about it, which worked out fine, until Sunday morning around 9am.

Saturday, David and I went out to Brown County for a hike. It was gorgeous, and a wonderful day for an outdoors activity. Plenty of other people seemed to have the same idea! In all, I think we hiked just under four miles, which didn’t seem like a very long distance but since some of it was uphill I still got in a great workout!

Someday I’d love to go back to take the whole day to hike all 10 or 11 trails at Brown County. Saturday was a special day though, so we had to cut our little hiking day short.

My friend Shawn, who I had met as an undergrad, also moved to Indy to start a job at IUPUI around the time I did last year. He had been attending a parish up here, and was being confirmed on Saturday. He had asked if David and I would come watch.

Where I come from, if a friend asks you to do something, the automatic answer is always yes!

Little did I know what I (we) were in for. Neither of us is Catholic, and the last time I went to a Catholic service was in grade school. I had no idea we were headed to a full Easter Vigil at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The service was beautiful, the church was packed, and I was so happy to see my friend become confirmed into the Catholic faith. Sadly, we didn’t make it through the whole service; it began at 9pm and we left right at midnight to head home, since I get up at 5am for my Sunday class.

Yep, you read that right.

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with school. School can be SO stressful and at times seem SO not worth it. But I still love it anyway. So when one of the benefits of my university job was tuition, of course I jumped at the chance to take a class that I was dying to take but couldn’t fit into my undergraduate schedule: Human Anatomy.

Yes, this is a “just for FUN” class, but I love it. (That’s right, I did say fun.) For the most part, I’ve liked taking Anatomy simply because it opens up so many of the questions I’ve had in the back of my mind for years. I love figuring out the how’s and why’s behind things work. Plus, to me, the human body is so beautifully and wonderfully made. It makes so much sense! Why are some of the bones shaped so funny? Because of muscles that attach in specific ways to perform certain functions for various movements. I am constantly amazed about this wonderful body God has made for us as a vehicle for our soul.

[Side note, only because I’ve been asked this many times before: Being a scientist, for me, has done nothing but wonders to strengthen my faith. Evolution is in no way threatening to me whatsoever, mostly because I credit God with creating it! Think about it: would our wonderful Creator be satisfied with creating our world and everything in it (including us) in six days and then just leave us be, stagnating? I don’t think so! He gave us so much versatility in our DNA that new things are constantly forming, adapting, and changing… to me, our Creator is constantly creating!]

Be warned, if you haven’t noticed already: I ramble.

I’m a stickler for responsibility. If you say you are going to do something, then dangit, do it! I signed up for this class on weekends since my weekday schedule is never consistent. I knew what I was in for when I signed up for a 5 credit hour class that was on one day a week , 9am-4:30pm, for four months. And on the first day when we got our syllabi, I took note that the only two Sundays we got off were for the Super Bowl (being held in Indy this year, with parking spots provided by IUPUI), and during Spring Break. Yes, I knew this meant I would be in class on Easter Sunday. I already knew that I would suck it up and come to class because I had taken responsibility for my actions, even though I knew I would just want to go home by the time the holiday came around.

And I knew I wouldn’t be the only one. Out of a class of 93 (see, I wasn’t the only one crazy enough to register for Anatomy on Sunday!), less than half showed up for lecture, and only one third stayed for lab.

Having to tell my mom that we wouldn’t be down for Easter was really hard. I’d had a couple months to think on it, and it was still hard. Knowing I wouldn’t be going home for the weekend, we planned the little hiking trip (which only kinda-sorta took my mind off it for the day). The Easter Bunny decided that since it was after midnight when we arrived home from Easter Vigil, David got his basket a little earlier than planned.  To get myself out of a funk on the way to campus, I stopped by Starbucks on the way in (I’m down 5 lbs so far, so I thought just a tiny little splurge wouldn’t do much harm) and paid for the lady behind me in the drive-through while I was there (Happy Easter!). So, I had mentally psyched myself up on the way in to the lecture hall, but after seeing that less than 40 people actually showed up, I began to wonder if the real, true right thing to have done was to have been with family and to have skipped on responsibility, if only this once.

Not to mention, it was another perfectly gorgeous day, with a slightly chilly breeze and not a single cloud in the sky… not that I would have known, being cooped up in rooms that lacked windows.

So by the time I got out of lab that afternoon (even though we had a porcine heart dissection, and I love dissections), I was pretty depressed by the time I got home. David had made dinner (his mouth-watering Chicken Frangelico, mashed potatoes, and a new one: cheesy corn) and Shawn came to join us. After-dinner entertainment was David’s Season One of Big Bang Theory that the Easter Bunny had brought him; I attempted to do some more studying, since next Sunday is yet another exam (and another reason I didn’t want to skip out on this particular class).

One of the things I’ve loved about this class is while I’m studying a bone, nerve, muscle, artery…. I can poke at my own to see how it functions. I’ve had numerous light bulbs go off in my mind simply because I can take what’s in the text and apply it with my own body, imperfections and all.

So while I’m studying the intricacies of the human body, I stumbled upon this thought: our good and perfect God sent his only Son to earth in His own human body… this very thing that I am studying, only built in a perfect form that was not weak to sin, as my flesh is. He had a brachial plexus, a palmaris longus (well, maybe 😉 ), and a Circle of Willis… and all of those other anatomical structures that trip me up. God was made flesh… and triumphed over death!

Having grown up in a Christian home, I knew all about the Resurrection but it has had a much stronger resonance in my life this year. Let me tell you what… that little tidbit there perked up this little depressed Anatomy student!

Even though I didn’t get to see my family or my church family on Easter, I know beyond a doubt how blessed we are, and that some things call for dedication that may mean missing out on certain holidays or other events. I pray that God continues to guide me along the right path, to becoming the better person He needs me to be, however He needs to mold me into that person.

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