A promise I count on
I have shared over the last few weeks that Easter is my most favorite holiday. What I haven’t divulged is how that sentiment has evolved over time. I have given glimpses into my childhood memories of little dresses with gloves and Southern-style Easter egg hunts as well as the memories made with my own children. But there is something so much more powerful about the day for my life now.
When I was little, most of my hours of play revolved around one storyline based upon my favorite book. That book was the Little Golden Book Classic titled “Little Mommy”. All these years later, I still have it – tattered and loved. Loved so much, I wore the front cover right off of it. (The book and its cover rest in a place of honor at my house.) I am sure it was one of those hot off the presses purchases my parents made back in 1971 for thirty-nine cents. They definitely got their money’s worth – kind of akin to the box being better than the present sometimes.
My whole life there were only two things I desired to be: a mom and a teacher. All of my hours of play revolved around the day that I would someday get to be the real-life mommy. My mom confirmed that there was never a time that I wasn’t toting a baby doll around. In all my years of playing mommy, never once did I imagine that someday I would have to give back to God one with whom he had chosen to bless our family. It wasn’t a part of the storyline. The kids got sick, but they never died.
N-E-V-E-R! That doesn’t happen in the pages of childhood storybooks and certainly not in the sweet imaginations of little girls dreaming of motherhood.
So what does any of this have to do with Easter? Easter once was a beloved time of year for the emergence of spring and, of course, all things pastel. Oh, I recognized the significance of the remembrance, acknowledging how much Jesus had given up for me and for my eternal future. Yet, I never really embraced the full reality of that gift. Following the death of my child, that changed. Easter became the promise I would believe in – literally. Very little made sense, but I knew that without Jesus’ sacrifice, the one thing I hold so dear – seeing Reed again – would never happen.
Now each Easter I sit in the pew, and I cry. I weep because unlike my unprepared heart, God knew what was ultimately going to happen with his Son. I cry tears of sadness for His loss, because now I understand what it is like to lose a son and mark anniversaries. I cry bigger tears of joy for the promise He and His Son gave to me.
The promise that one day – just like I practiced all those years ago – I will cradle my sweet boy in my arms again.