I sat at one of the tables in the yard after our Easter brunch, watching a dozen kids flitting about, looking for hidden eggs and screaming like a miner discovering gold when they found one.
It was an incomparable day, the temperature in the 70s and the green of the newly lush grass highlighted with the colors of wild violets and daffodils.
Peonies popped out of their beds, curious of all the noise and merriment.
It was the first time we had all been together in over a year. There was energy in the air, not just of spring, or even of Easter, but the pure joy of reunion and the hope of much more.
As my mind lazed in the warmth of the sun, a line from Mary Oliver’s “The Kingfisher” jumped from my memory.
“I think this is the prettiest world,” she wrote, “so long as you don’t mind a little dying.”
At first, I was taken aback, fearful her words would be a buzzkill. The more I thought of it, though, the more I appreciated Oliver’s insight.
Even in the bliss of this magnificent day, death had played a supporting role.
Our family does well at celebrating the high feasts, but this Easter was different. No doubt, Covid and its many attendant deaths contributed.
It had been a year of isolation, fear, sickness and grieving. We had been locked in our tombs.
Suddenly the rock was rolled away and we emerged into the light.
It made the Easter story more real, more personal. In this new freedom, we could feel the glorious edge of Resurrection.
This Easter, Christ did not come out alone, but led us to a new day and a renewed life.
I have a friend who says, when times are tough, “It feels like Good Friday, but Sunday’s coming.”
Sometimes, I think we need to flip that for the good times and remember that Easter Sunday wouldn’t be here without Friday’s death.
Death did not disappear that first Easter morning. It is still among us with its power and sting.
But it is a part of life, not its enemy.
It tempers us, refines our vision, reveals our blessings, and stokes our gratitude.
I think of the pain and sacrifices we have had as a family, all the deaths we endured to enjoy this Easter Sunday.
I realize that, not only were they worth it, this day just wouldn’t have been the same without them.