Saturday, April 23, 2011

GanGan's Easter Lesson

I have always loved Easter.  I love it, of course, for all that it truly stands for.  Christ dying for us so that, as Caroline, one of the 4-year-old triplets, told me the other night "we can live for a long long time."  That has and is and always will be the core, the heart, of the hope that we have here on Earth.

I love everything else that comes with Easter, too.  I love the flowers (but not the pollen), the music, the precious dresses and suits that children wear to church that day.  Easter, admittedly, is my favorite meal of the entire year.  What's not to love?

And I am a girl who will always always love dying Easter eggs.  I do this every year at least once, usually more.  The eggs in the photo are from last week with Spencer and Sam.  I don't know that I've missed dying eggs with them since the year I started keeping Spencer when he was just 2.  Those two boys can't sit still for anything for longer than 5 seconds, but without fail they will sit at the kitchen table for endless amounts of time doing this every year.  Love love love.

Easter always makes me think of both of my grandmothers.  Granny (my dad's mom) LOVED Easter.  I have vivid memories of a very very tacky yellow "fluffy" Easter dress that I just HAD to have when I was little, and she obliged with that and some little white gloves and I thought I was big time that year.  She also loved to make a 'bunny cake' for us to have at Easter lunch.  Nanny (mom's mom) would always get up early (we always went and stayed with them for Easter once we moved) to head to the church to assemble the floral cross that was always taken down the aisle to the altar each year.  We would get up and get dressed and head to church with our armloads of flowers to add to it and help her, in one of her spring St. John suits, as she worked to make it perfect. 

But, one of my favorite things about Easter was just discovered a few years ago.  After Nanny moved out of her house, it was time to clean it out.  WHAT a chore.  There were several times that I would ride to Lenoir with Mom to pitch in as she, Lana and Tamra would work to figure out what to do with everything in that house.  One day I found myself up in a storage space upstairs that we all simply referred to as "the room" growing up.  You could find anything in there - old coffee tables, discarded luggage, broken golf clubs...just STUFF.  Lots and lots of stuff

It was the room no one wanted to tackle, but I started digging around one day and happened upon some treasures.  I found a stack of GanGan's old Sunday school lesson notes, scrawled out on ledger paper (once an accountant, always an accountant) and folded up multiple times, shoved down in a box.

I sat in the floor reading for a while and then pulled out a few pages that comprised part of an Easter lesson that he had done.  Those notes have lived in my Bible ever since, and I have emailed the text to my family each year at some point during Easter weekend. 

In the midst of the candy and the eggs and the food and the dresses this weekend, please don't lose sight of what it is all REALLY about.

Happy Easter.

"The story has come down to us through the centuries beautifying human life with the halo of immortality; making our hearts to thrill with the thought that we are immortal; that we have begun an existence that shall never end; that nothing can harm us; that death is merely an incident in passing from one phase of existence to another; that whether here or there we are His, doing the thing He has for us to do; that millions of ages after the sun has grown cold we ourselves shall still be young in the eternities of God.

The one most exhilarating thing in the whole range of human experience is the thought that we are immortal, that we cannot die, that whatever may happen to the body, we ourselves shall live on and on and on and on. And we have this feeling made sure in our hearts because Jesus rose from the dead.

This story of Jesus is true – life is beautiful, life is glorious, looking down a vista that shall never end.
Easter is our salvation. At the heart of it is the conviction that life is not measured by a cradle and a grave. Life is sustained by the dynamic of an endless life. For those who are willing to take it the endless life sustains the glow and glory of our richest experiences.

To believe life is endless is to find a new significance in this day, to enter with other persons into the sense of endless fellowship, to get into proper perspective the irritating disproportions of the moment, to know the chance of love that never fails, and to find the source of an eternal energy that makes possible the best in oneself and an eager desire for the best in and for others."