Our Littles love to dye eggs for Easter. I love the idea of dying eggs, but I'm realizing that my role these days is more about trying to prevent major spills, broken shells, and sibling squabbles.
I was once quite proud of my egg colouring abilities, and tried to be as creative as I could, using rubber bands for the tie-dye look, crayons for the resist effect, and even leaves and egg whites one year for a Martha Stewart feel. These days, though, I'm satisfied with solid colours and no tears.
One Easter (over 30 years ago) I suppose I was especially proud of my artistic ability because I didn't want to part with the eggs. I couldn't imagine a more barbaric act than banging them on the table to crack their beautiful shells. I put my favourites on a certain shelf in the fridge, with strict orders to everyone else that these were not to be eaten.
There was one egg that I was most fond of. And, for some reason, I was worried that my older brother would take it. So, I hid it in the top drawer of my dresser, underneath my socks. This, I figured, was a perfect plan. What could go wrong?
I don't know how much time passed before I realized something smelled in my room. But, there, underneath my socks, was one cracked and very rotten egg. Safe from my brother, yes, but no longer beautiful.
Isn't this the way it often is? When we selfishly try to keep good things from others, we can't really enjoy them ourselves?
When I was a little girl, our church was always packed on Easter Sunday. They had to set up folding chairs behind the back pews to fit everyone. I always paid attention during the Easter service (ahem...but not during most other church services) because there was the possibility of spontaneity. We were not a congregation where "Amen!" and "Preach!" and "Hallelujah!" were shouted from among the people. We read the words on the printed bulletin in unison, exactly when we were supposed to.
But. On Easter, the pastor would proclaim at various times throughout the morning, "He Is Risen!" And we would exclaim in response, "He Is Risen, Indeed!" It felt a little like we were breaking the rules. And I loved it. I paid attention so that I wouldn't miss my chance to join my voice with everyone else's in that unscripted (but, still kind of scripted) moment of praise. (This is how Presbyterians worship dangerously).
Oh, to shout with the gusto and faith of a child, "He Is Risen, Indeed!"
After church, we would drive to my grandparents' house, passing fields and ponds, and, finally, climbing the long, tree-sheltered hill that was their driveway. The little red house sat proudly in the large clearing at the top of the hill. There the cousins and aunts and uncles would gather, all dressed in our new Easter clothes, and share the meal our Grandmother had worked so hard to prepare (yet made look so effortless). The table stretched from the door of the little kitchen, through the skinny dining room, and into the family room. And we squeezed into our chairs and filled the space with our stories and laughter.
At some point in the afternoon, the grand Easter Egg hunt began. Each cousin was assigned a certain colour plastic egg, and then off we went, romping through the yard, in search of eggs. We found them beneath the long monkey grass and wedged in tree branches, hidden under patio chair cushions and behind tulips. The eggs were filled with the usual little treasures: a small piece of chocolate, a nickel, a jelly bean. When we had collected all we could find, we dumped out our loot on the family room floor, taking stock of all we had received (and all that our cousins had received--just to make sure it was fair. It always was).
After we stuffed the chocolate into our mouths and hid the nickels in our pockets or little purses, we started the game over again, hiding the now empty eggs for each other to find.
At some point, tired and filled with too much sugar, we waved our goodbyes to our cousins and grandparents, as our parents loaded us into the car to go home.
And while we might not have talked on those afternoons about the meaning of the resurrection, we understood celebration and love and a table where we were always welcome.
Friends, He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed!