Easter is miraculous and magical and awe-inspiring because of what it means for Christians, but the reality is that Easter, like any other holiday, is not always rainbows and butterflies (although one might argue that Easter has a better chance of being all rainbows and butterflies than, say, Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas!)
This guy made a crown of thorns at school and when he saw a photo of one of his classmates respectfully wearing his crown of thorns (also shirtless) in a photo, he wanted to do the same. He wanted to stand barefoot out in the rain, like Jesus would have been. The crown of thorns was made from pipecleaners and a cardboard cross. I love the education he's getting and the respect and understanding that he has at 5 years old. Seems a little mature for his age in that respect, but I love his thoughtfulness.
Easter was beautiful this year, in nearly every sense. The weather was a welcome respite from the cold and gray days we'd seen previously. Most of my family was together at my parents' house, which is always an adventure in and of itself. Our kids were healthy and SO happy with the gifts the Easter Bunny left in their baskets.
There is just one thing that has been weighing me down about this Easter and it is that we didn't make it to church. I am a Christian and I have a strong faith in God and all that he has created. That said, I'm not a "religious" church-goer. I know I'll bruise some people's opinions here by saying this, but I just don't believe that a person needs to be "in church" to find God, to pray, to connect. However, I do believe that having a church community that supports you and that you can help support is invaluable and I do long for more involvement in our church at some point in our lives, hopefully soon. The one component of church that I find continuously brings me closer to God is the singing - I LOVE to sing! Honestly though? I am occasionally brought down by the singing at church if it is too slow, drawn out, they sing too many verses, if it sounds painful, or if no one else but me and the choir are singing, etc. So, sometimes for me, church is standing at my kitchen window washing breakfast dishes, and singing my heart out in praise. Sometimes it is sitting on my patio with my cup of coffee, closing my eyes and thanking the Lord for the birds that are singing around me, for my children's laughter echoing from the sandbox in the yard, for the fertile land surrounding my home where my husband grows our crops. Those are the times I really, really, feel God talking to me. So, why do I feel so badly about missing Church on Easter? I'm not exactly sure... Was it something as superficial as not getting the chance to wear "Easter clothes" and really dress up? Was is something as primal as needing that sense of community? that sense of belonging to something bigger than just us? As much as it weighs on me that we didn't make it to church on Easter (or on Palm Sunday, which is actually my favorite week of the entire year to be in church), I know that we were just where we were supposed to be.
Our Easter celebrations were wonderful... overall. As I eluded to above, they weren't all rainbows and butterflies though. Amid the celebrations and praise, there were a few things weighing heavily in our hearts and on our minds. My father-in-law had a really uncommonly tough week in the hospital after knee surgery earlier in the week. He came home from the hospital on Saturday, the day before Easter, but ended up going back into the emergency room on Easter Sunday, just as we were leaving their house to head to my parents house for the day. It turned out fine, and he is getting better every day. It had been a tough week. Cliff has been working really hard (and 'round the clock) trying to get all of the farm equipment ready for planting - making repairs, doing maintenance, etc, so he's been "gone" a lot, although he has made a point to be home to help me get the kids to bed at night, whenever possible, which I appreciate so much and I know it's so good for the kids too, even if they don't realize it. Major run-on sentence there, but this isn't grammar class, right? Right. On I go...
On Thursday, in the midst of my father-in-law's hospital stay and complications, my in-laws' basement flooded and Cliff had to call in a septic company, who pumped 3600 gallons of (clean) water out of their basement. It was a plumbing issue and not a sewage issue, thank goodness. Another relative of mine was celebrating Easter with the worry on her mind about starting Chemo treatment this week. She was on my mind all day as I thought about what a struggle it would be to be singing praises and celebrating the new beginnings of Easter and Springtime while carrying the uneasiness of all of the unknowns of this illness.
All of that said, I woke up warm in my bed next to my husband on Easter morning. Life was good. Addison snuggled with us in our bed after she woke up and we even had a little time to enjoy some quiet time with her as she discovered her Easter basket that had been "hidden" behind her little rocking chair in our living room. She carefully and slowly explored its contents, while Gavin slept peacefully in his warm bed. By the time he woke up and went searching for his more-skillfully-hidden basket, Addison was enjoying the goodies the Easter Bunny had left for her. Gavin finally found his Easter Basket in the cabinet under the bathroom sink. That Easter Bunny sure knows how to hide things! The Easter bunny brought both kids new spring shoes, two pairs of brightly colored socks, a few little pieces of candy (reese's pieces eggs) in brightly colored plastic eggs, a beaded bracelet, a new movie (the Pirate Fairy for Gavin and Peter Rabbit for Addison) and then a few things each child would enjoy. Gavin's basket had a travel tic-tac-toe game, some Zyrofoam, a couple of basswood biplane gliders, a big bag of new rubber bands for his Rainbow Loom, and a few new pencils. Addison's basket had an insulated stainless steel water bottle, a new set of plastic forks and spoons, and a soft easy-grip bouncy ball. She immediately wanted her new socks and shoes on and Gavin wanted to play with his Zyrofoam and Tic-Tac-Toe game.
The fun is just beginning! Egg-dyeing, Easter egg hunt, and the amazing time with grandmas and grandpas still coming!