It’s been a very long time since I was able to carry out any of my Easter traditions. The last time that I even got a little bit close was the first year I was officially an aunt. So, 2013. I was almost a year into my marriage and my husband and I were on fire for the Lord. We wanted everyone to know him like we were trying to. That Easter I had planned a traditional meal with my sister-in-law in which I did almost all the cooking. Then I made Easter baskets for all the kids and arranged for my sisters-in-law to make surprise eggs. Easter Sunday rolled around, and my husband and I went to Sunday service and then headed over to my brother-in-law’s house. Everyone was going to be there, even my in-laws. I was excited and nervous.
I won’t bore you with all the details and I’ll skip to the part I wanted to focus on. I knew going into this family easter that it would be more about the worldly easter instead of the Christianity one. My husband and I wished so badly that we could somehow encourage our family to come to church with us, and maybe this is where we should have had more faith instead of being realistic. Whatever was in the air that day, when we were all sitting down, our brother-in-law began to talk about his catholic mother and father and how they had spent Easter. He began to ask questions and these questions turned into a lengthy discussion about religion and what was the true meaning of Easter.
It truly felt like a miracle. Now nothing really came of that conversation but just the idea of being about to share about God to the people I had grown to love so much made that Easter incredibly special. After that, we would celebrate Easter every year.
When I was young, Easter meant a few things to me but nothing so much as the relief that we lived to see another day. I am not sure why I always assumed Jesus was coming back on Easter but I had it in my head that he would and every Easter scared me a great deal. It always seemed like my papaw would preach a bit more pointed, and louder. He was a genuine quiet man so when he got loud you paid attention. Being the granddaughter of a pastor, you get to see many things that a normal churchgoer does not see. I got to see how my papaw would fast at times and seclude himself off to study. I also got to see the tears and look of disappointment when he was preaching to an almost empty church. I saw him work all day building, taking care of my nana, running around after me, and then bone-tired trying to study for Sunday service. A good pastor never had a day off. At least my papaw didn’t. He was on call 24/7 – you know, just like Jesus.
Easter, even more so, was a time for me to watch my grandfather. In the eyes of his granddaughter, he was believed to be a lot like Jesus but without the hair. His skin was brown and tough like leather from all the roofs he had put on, his eyes blue like the sky of the most perfect sunny day. A carpenter just like Jesus. A man of God that loved his people. Of course, as an adult, I know it is wrong to compare a human to God. My papaw would not approve of this at all. In some ways, those child-like views never go away.
Somehow this all ties in, but Easter was the one time of year that I for sure knew I was getting a new dress and new shoes. Now I could have cared less about the shoes but was pretty happy about new dresses. I’ll admit something here, I loved gloves and hats and I normally got them. I think the last hat I wore on Easter was around the age of 14, and it was a blue sun hat. My mom may have had her faults but she always made sure I got a new Easter dress. She may have had to sit up till wee morning hours on Easter Sunday to have it ready but I was going to have a new dress. It was a family effort really. My mom sewed it, and my papaw oversaw me getting measured so I would be still, and my nana hemmed.
The other thing you could depend on, and what I tried to carry out with my ex’s family, was Sunday dinner aka (lunch). My mom would get up early and put on a roast in the crockpot or this speckled oval dish that would go in the oven. She would cook the roast with carrots and potatoes, with onions and of course seasoning very low until we headed off to church, which she would just leave in the oven with the oven off. If she was cooking in the crockpot, she would leave that on low. By the time we got home the roast would be falling apart, and the carrots were so tender you could not pick them up with a fork. There would be cornbread and pink salad, and depending on what we had we also ate angel food cake with strawberries and cool whip or peach pie. Then there would be a ton of hiding and finding the eggs. It was the one Sunday of the year that Sunday naps were not taken full advantage of.
I hope that you can feel the true love of Easter that I have. This year I will probably wake up, watch Sunday service from bed and eventually get downstairs. It may not be my Easter of Easter’s past, but It will still be fine because I have amazing memories of God’s love and my family. XOXO, Evie
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