Easter is a day when practicing Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. My faith community had an especially poignant service. Not only did three people share stories of change (types of resurrections) occurring in their lives, we celebrated a beloved couple who will be moving away. There was laughter and celebration and singing. There was reflection and tears and goodbyes.
After church we came back to the house and had an Easter egg hunt in the back yard, for the grandchildren.
There is a rich history of eggs, as part of many traditions, dating as far back as 5000 years ago when they were placed on graves of Egyptians.
Eggs have been associated with Easter, and rebirth, for a long time. In early Christianity they were stained red to commemorate the blood shed by Jesus. There’s a story of Mary Magdalene (a follower of Christ) going to the Emperor of Rome to tell him that Christ had risen from the dead. After she made that statement he pointed to an egg on the table and replied, “Christ has no more risen than that egg is red.” At that moment, the egg turned deep red. For many Christians, an egg represents the empty burial place of Christ—symbolic of the large stone rolled in front of a tomb.
At a Jewish Seder experience I attended, a hard-boiled egg (Baytzah) was part of the Seder plate. It represents not only new life, but also mourning for the loss of the two Temples that were destroyed by the Babylonians.
Eggs are also tied to Pagan practices. In early, 1300s, pre-Christian Germany, the Easter Bunny was created and “visited” the children with eggs, around the same time that festivals to honor pagan gods and goddesses took place.
Easter and Passover always take place in the spring—a time that, in many parts of our world, nature is experiencing a rebirth. Spring has always given me a sense of hope, of a chance for new beginnings, of growth and possibility.
Thinking about yesterday, and all the different emotions and experiences that occurred in that one day, makes me aware of the many facets of our realities.
There is a seeming dichotomy to our existence. One side, good, happy or abundant. The other challenging, sad or lacking. But, these two sides of life are not separate. They are not mutually exclusive. They ebb and flow, one into the other. One takes center stage at some points while another recedes into the background. When life is going along like a beautifully orchestrated piece of music—the high notes perfectly balanced out by the low notes, the melody connecting the entire song together—we slip into a comfort zone. We’re content with the rhythm of our life. Then, sometimes when we least expect it, a sudden change—not for the best—takes place. When that happens, we’re caught off guard, we feel deflated. Then, since we don’t believe we can succeed at integrating the different parts of the whole, we think we shouldn’t trust the music anymore. We don’t know how to gratefully be present in the moment.
This morning, my daughter, Erin, called me on her way to work at the hospital. She regularly walks through physical life-changes with patients. Sometimes when she’s with them their health is declining. Sometimes she delivers wonderful news that will change the way they feel. At the end of our conversation Erin said, “make sure you go outside today”. It’s beautiful right now. The sun is shining and she knows that I sometimes get lost in my writing. Even though she didn’t say the words, she was reminding me to be present in the moment.
After I hung up with Erin, I talked to a friend who’s helping someone she loves very much through a challenging time. The walk has been unexpected, but she has chosen to “give it up to God”. She is one of the most spiritually connected people I know and her faith is amazing. She is sharing another’s pain. She is aware that she can’t “fix” this (I often feel like I should be able to “fix” a lot of things for other people even though I know I can’t). She is holding onto the song. In this new journey she is walking with the other person and that reminds me to be present in the moment.
There are a lot of things we can avoid. We can take a different route to miss rush hour traffic. We could choose to not eat that last piece of pizza if we get heartburn. We can decide to not put ourselves in a setting with another person (or people) where we always end up feeling “less than”. We can’t, however, jump over or hide from some experiences. Gosh, I’ve tried in the past and it’s never worked long-term. Sometimes we have bad stuff that we just don’t want to deal with. We may put it in a box, close the lid, stick in on a shelf and decide we’ve “processed” it. If it comes back to haunt us, we may wrap tape all around that box and stick it in the back of the closet. “Whew, that’s gotta work”, we think. Then something happens, or someone says something, and that stuff is right there screaming at us, following us around, taking up a lot of space in our heads and hearts, again.
Ignoring profound, impactful happenings is not going to make them just go away. We need to walk through that stuff- not jump over it, not side-step it, not skip around it, and not run through it with only a second of consideration.
We need to
Come to Peace with It
Walk Through It.
Once we do that, we can experience that rebirth.
How many times have you experienced a “rebirth”; a revival of your spirit; a resurgence of energy; a restoration of your soul? How many times have you considered yourself important enough to invest in yourself? How many times have you decided to live intentionally?
joy and tears on an Easter morning
laughter and pain in a journey
love and loss in our humanness
I hope this week brings you joy, laughter, love and, most important, the awareness that you are an amazing and valuable child of God.
Thank you Erin, Betsy, Sam and Karen for reminding me to BE,
©2015 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living
ps. From the Z to A “checklist”:
#3. Xenodochy is being kind and hospitable, especially to those who feel like they’re on the outside; let’s practice that. One little word can change a person’s entire day. Be the change-maker. Never underestimate how you impact someone else’s life.