Easter is perhaps my favorite holiday. To me, Easter is the time of renewal and hope. Easter is the opening act for the glory of Spring and the solace of summer.
We celebrate this holiday in various ways. Many of us acquire new “Easter outfits” during this time. Ladies choose pastel colored fabric with or without flowers and gentleman accept and agree to wear that new Easter tie. Others make sure their little ones (and not so little ones), receive an Easter basket overflowing with small toys, a coloring book, crayons, both a stuffed and a chocolate rabbit, Peeps of every imaginable color, and other sweets — all buried in Easter grass and wrapped in bright cellophane.
When we speak of the Easter holiday, we must not forget the reason for this celebration. As I paint the image of Easter within my mind, my very first brush stroke is of a church: a traditional white church in need of repair, with weather-worn steps and a steeple that slants just a bit to one side. Despite the flaws, the humble church is radiant and before I reach those beaten, old wooden steps, I pause for just a moment to absorb the wonder before me. The scent of lilac and the sweetness of the newly mowed grass is divine.
I am here for the funeral of an angel; a magnificent blind woman who leaves behind a legacy of kindness and wisdom. Easter has passed but that notion of a new beginning lingers. The church has been once again activated in honor of this lady and though there is no longer electrical power within, the magnitude of her love and of those who love her thrive.
I climb the narrow steps to the balcony as the ceremony begins. There is the usual ritual and a young lady sings several songs, all a cappella. The acoustics of the church carry her clear voice with perfection, and the intact stained-glass windows appear to twinkle in unison with the lyrics. I am enchanted, and as we leave the church for the internment, I am reluctant to depart.
As we stand under that June sky and say our farewells, a voice bellows from behind us. It is a man we do not recognize. His voice, though loud, delivers a gentle message of inspiration as he praises this wondrous lady for all of her goodness. The June sunshine becomes even more vibrant as the ceremony comes to a close.
I have passed the church several times since that June day, and each sighting reminds me of the perfect Easter celebration. The old church, with all of its need for repair and a fresh coat of paint, bloomed once again on the day we paid tribute to a vibrant life. The lady we honored became the beating heart within the walls, and there was no need for a makeover. The words spoken by the unrecognized gentleman enhanced the glow of revival and is that not the true purpose of springtime and Easter?
I respect each person’s faith or chosen belief. During the Easter season, many of us celebrate with ham dinners, new clothing, stuffed bunnies, and baskets filled to the brim with chocolate. Easter, however, is much more than merchandise and finery. It is new life. A fresh start, if you will.
My friends, have a most welcome spring season. Please keep those who suffer from the devastation of war close to your heart, and be kind to yourself and each other.
Belinda Hersey lives in Caribou with her husband, Kent, and their two dogs, Barney and Morgan. You may email her at email@example.com.