Easter blessings! This is one of my favorite holidays, and not just because of the outfits and the candy. Easter is one of my favorite stories. Like all good stories, it is filled with beauty and mystery. There is pain, sacrifice, death. Our hero is triumphant. But above all, to me, Easter is a perfect love story.
One of my favorite Easter memories involves my son Parker. He was about 3 when he heard the crucifixion story at his pre-school. He could not wait to share his news with me. He threw everything into the car, breathless and wide-eyed.
“Mom! Mom! Did you know they killed Jesus?”
I was a little taken aback, I was not aware he would be learning the passion story at daycare. We’re Methodists so we don’t generally start and end with just the scary part.
“Well, yes, Son. They did. But … there’s more to this story. Did they tell you how it ended? The most important part of this story is that Jesus got back up! He loved you, and me, and God so much, that he was able to get back up. Now he lives in heaven where he watches over us.”
In the words of my sweet pastor, the Rev. David Wiggs, the Easter story is the story wherein Death did not get the final word. Love did. Christ loved us so much, that he died for us. He died so that we may have life everlasting as well! As I see the grass turning green and leaves budding on trees, I am reminded of that new life all around me.
As Christians, spring is a time of renewal for our hearts as well. We have a chance to live as Easter people. But what does that mean, really? I read a devotional recently that focused on ways we can do that. In it, the writer says, “the best way to be a witness is by sharing our personal story; by telling others how the living Christ has shone the light in our darkness; by explaining the difference that letting go and letting God has made in our lives; by testifying how our lives have been touched by resurrection love; and to always do this with gentleness, respect, and courtesy.”
These words spoke to me. One, because the passage encourages us to think about the ways God is working in our lives. Two, it tells us to be encouraging to others with sensitivity and kindness. That is how we as Christians can get it right. Not with threats and hellfire, not with cruelty, but through LOVE.
Parker and I had a little couch time this week to talk about how sad we have been feeling lately. Like me, his misses his grandfather who passed away in January. He misses his sweet Marley dog, his best friend for the last eight years. Things are not quite the same without them here. I loathe that my little son has experienced so much hurt at such an early age. I was 26 before I lost anyone that I truly loved, and it was still so hard to wade through.
I held him and cried. I told him that I think we are grieving. Our hearts hurt because they are gone. That hurt is proportional and a reflection of how much love we have for the ones we lose. I told him my heart’s secret, that there were days when I felt so very selfish, because I just wanted them back. Even though they hurt, even though their bodies didn’t work as well as they should. I know in my heart they are at peace, fishing and swimming in the lake all day. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do anything to have them here with us again. Selfish.
“But Mommy, that wouldn’t be fair. If they caught a disease, asking them to live with it and hurt forever instead of dying and going to heaven.”
Sweetest boy. And just like that, I see God working in my life.
Parker reminds me that my life is filled with so much good, that the bad things really stick out. I have so much joy, that pain is almost unbearable. I have built up no tolerance for grief.
For me, spring is coming a little more slowly this year. But it is coming. And my son, my precious gift from God, well, he is already living as an Easter person.