Do I title this post Creepy Bunnies?
Or Boston Strong?
I woke up ruminating on the holiday, but my thoughts quickly turned toward the runners and spectators who lined the streets of Boston this morning. It’s been humbling and inspiring to read about how the running community moved resiliently through this first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. I was touched to learn that hundreds of runners and their families attended the Blessing of the Athletes at Boston’s Old South Church yesterday, which coincidentally was Easter Sunday.
Part of the blessing read:
May you mount up with wings like eagles. May you run and not grow weary. May you walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
I remain unconvinced that Christianity with a capital C is the way to go, but I also appreciate how we might seek solace and inspiration in scripture. This particular piece seems especially meaningful for runners.
That said, the explanation I provided to my kids about the meaning of Easter felt inadequate.
Our eldest son can tell you the Christmas story, or at least he’ll hit the highlights… how baby Jesus was born in a manger after his parents wandered for several hours in search of a place to rest. He likes the idea of a bright star guiding the way of those who sought him, and he’ll certainly mention the fact that there were animals, too… an ox, a donkey, a camel, and maybe a dog.
Also, since the city of Bethlehem is within an hour’s drive from the Mediterranean Sea, my son is certain there was a shark or two silently lurking near the shore the day Jesus was born.
Healer, sage, leader, teacher and philosopher, Jesus was a man who cared deeply about humanity. Was he reborn? I’m not entirely certain.
Most Easters since our kids have been born have passed without much reflection on the day’s purpose or history. Yesterday I felt like tackling it differently, because the secular approach to Easter is focused on a creepy, man-sized Easter Bunny, and and the sugar ingestion alone is bound to hurt.
We painted and hid eggs and filled baskets with treats. Our eldest handles special treats discreetly, saving them to enjoy one at a time. His Easter Basket was still pretty full by the time the sun set. Our youngest, on the other hand, was intentional in his excessive consumption of jelly beans and chocolate. Throughout the day, he returned to his basket to dip in for a handful of sweet, until it was gone. Then he leaned in to me with chocolate breath to inquire about more.
After spending the entire day in our backyard playing soccer and badminton, gardening, swinging in the hamaca and organizing an army of Lego guys on the deck, we finally stopped to come in for the holiday meal. Before dinner, we went around the table to share gratitudes.
I said something like, Today I’m grateful for sunshine and each of you and the understanding that we are sharing this special Easter Sunday with many people around the world.
Oldest son: Um, Mom? Couldn’t there be a cooler holiday that celebrated sharks around the world? Like everyone would just be excited and celebrate about Sharks being alive in the ocean around the entire world?
After dinner, the boys scrubbed down into cleaner versions of themselves and watched an original Peter Cottontail movie from the 1970s.
Public apologies to the movie-gifter, but this film is a little scary and dated. The boys didn’t think so, but I cringed watching the dark Evil Irontail try to outsmart the innocent Peter Cottontail. The stop-motion animation is fun, and probably easier for our youngest to follow than fast-paced modern films, but it’s still a pretty terrible movie. I like to be present during the viewing of a new movie in order to interpret as needed or talk it out afterwards, but I’m also finding myself being less present lately.
More and more, I need the boys to work stuff out on their own.
When they are separated, they long to be together… or at least the youngest wants to be near the eldest. Left apart long enough, the eldest inquires about the youngest, too. Since we don’t live in the Taj Mahal, intimacy isn’t typically a problem, and we are within shouting distance at any given point.
On Easter Sunday I felt like we should feel as a family, like a whole, curious, healthy entity, moving toward a shared interpretation of the day. Faithful or not, life really comes down to love, gratitude, family, patience, kindness and strength of spirit.
Our kids are young. Easter baskets are compelling, and they sit in the room, teasing, tantalizing as they entice little hands to dig down for jelly beans and chocolate. But if I can support those things listed above as part of my life and that of my family’s, then I feel we are doing pretty well.
And that, readers, makes for a happy Easter.