When I was a little girl, I was utterly enchanted with the idea of Cinderella, and longed desperately for a beautiful ballgown just like hers, with wide full skirts made of layers of chiffon.
The closest I ever came in those days was the dresses my mom bought for me to wear on Easter Sundays -- and the wonderful multi-layered slips I used to wear beneath them to make the skirts billow out. For years Easter meant colored eggs, awakening to an Easter basket, rushing off to church (my parents sang in the choir), and, best of all, beautiful dresses and sweet little hats with ribbons trailing down the back.
I carried on that tradition with my own daughters until, when they were 7 and 9, we moved to Shaw Island. They stopped attending church soon after we arrived, as there were no children there and they found the service boring. So there was no point in buying them new spring dresses, and Easter celebrations devolved into Easter baskets with candy and stuffed animals. And now, this year, with both girls over 21 and away from home, I won't even be doing that.
And what are they left with, after all this? Will they ever come to see Easter as part of the natural rhythm of life, something to look forward to after a long period of darkness and introspection? Will they ever experience the rising of hope I used to feel at midnight on Easter Eve, when after the darkness of the Vigil service we would turn on the lights, ring the bells and dance?
I think, as a parent, I did a reasonable job of making it clear that there was more to Christmas than Santa Claus and presents. But Easter, of course, is harder to explain -- partly because I didn't want to burden them too much with the pain of Good Friday. It's hard to get the point or the magnificent promise of Resurrection if you don't walk through death first. And I'm not sure the myths the church has built around the story really provide a way in to the mystery and wonder of Easter; you kind of have to experience the death and rebirth within yourself before it comes alive for you.
But there is a sense of promise in the colors of Easter; the soft yellows and blues, the pale lilacs and pinks. And so I was amused when this image emerged from my labors at the computer yesterday afternoon. Even if I won't be attending church tomorrow (too crowded) or wearing new clothes (too expensive) or buying candy and stuffed animals for my girls (too old, and too far away), something in me still knows the light is coming, still quivers with the hope of glory yet to come.
And so I wish you each a blessed Easter, and celebrate the new life that rises within us all.