It’s still dark outside, and I wonder what others are doing at this hour. I am sitting with my laptop as I work to finish my Palm Sunday talk for tomorrow, and I am flooded with childhood memories. Easter is so alive for me this year, which I think is a little odd, since I tend to shy away from traditional Christian things, even as a minister!
And not that I don’t like Easter, in fact I have very fond memories of Easter, not generally memories about Jesus, but rather memories of frilly dresses and shiny shoes. I remember being all ready for Easter mass, seeing everyone else at church in their finest spring clothes, brightly colored, looking like the jelly beans and bright, foil-wrapped treats waiting for me at home.
Every year my parents hid our Easter baskets in the house and every year I searched diligently for my basket with my brothers and sisters. And as if that wasn’t enough fun, then we searched outside for brightly colored eggs. Each one filled with a nickel or piece of candy.
What I remember most vividly was the searching though, not the actual finding of the treasure. And even though I am sure I loved every moment of discovery, what my heart and mind hold so dear about those younger days of Easter, was the suspense of the search. Looking into every nook and cranny and crawl space, turning over everything I could reach, opening every door, window and drawer in the house, turning over every leaf and branch outside. And each year I thought it would be easier than the year before to find my Easter basket because I believed I knew all the secret places in my home. And yet, every year I would be surprised, once again, because there was a new secret place yet undiscovered.
I suppose Easter this year is not so different then it was 30 years ago. I am still ignited by the search. I am still delighted by the unknown and the anticipation of exploring new places. New places that my childlike mind holds as untouched, innocent and waiting just for me, only for me.
This year I am exploring, reaching into the dark places, the crawl spaces and inner recesses of my soul that ache for healing. Seeking to know all there is for me. And just when I think there aren’t new hiding places in “my home,” the child in me opens a window of my heart, letting me in to see the sweet gifts of peace, joy, forgiveness, release, and wholeness that await me if I am willing to travel the dark journey.
This time it’s different though. I seek as a grown woman, not only with the pure, simple mind of a child, but also with the wisdom of my life. I’m sure my Easter basket this year will be filled with goodies, but what kind I have no idea.
So I will wait until next Sunday, content right now to return to finishing my talk about Palm Sunday, Passion Sunday, that Sunday that Christians celebrate as the beginning of the end, but that I am choosing to see simply as a beginning. A time to enter into the completeness of the dark journey of seeking, and then express with great passion what I will do with the delightful treats waiting for me in the easter basket of my soul.