Our Hidden Easter Reveals Itself
It might be obscured by many distractions, but our hidden Easter reveals itself to us.
When I was growing up Easter came hidden behind new clothes and candy and, often, new squirt guns. It was obscured by our focus on the earliest days of spring and bunnies and looking for hidden eggs.
It took years for me to realize Easter was as hidden as the eggs for which we searched.
For many of us, Easter is hidden because it is buried under layers of tradition. There may be specific foods we eat on Easter, or practices we follow. Some of us only attend church once or twice each year, but one of those times is Easter.
Some of us find it hiding in a moment, a flash of realization. We discover it and begin to explore what it means to us. There may be a flash of insight for us which reveals Easter is not all about eggs or jelly beans or traditions.
It reveals itself to others 0f us more gradually.
Our discovery may be more like slowly unwrapping the foil on a chocolate bunny. We do not experience a flash of insight, but a steady growth of understanding. Easter reveals itself to us like a flower opening its petals.
Each of us explores in our own ways, at our own speed.
Easter reveals itself to us in ways we appreciate more deeply as grow in understanding. It invites us to recognize its significance in new ways, though some of us never go beyond our first steps.
How does Easter reveal itself to us? Are we paying attention? Would we prefer a flash of insight or a more gradual path of discovery?
What parts of Easter remain hidden from us? How will we continue to explore it?
Exploring Our Hidden Easter
The ways I experience Easter have changed.
It has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I spent a lot of time at church when I was a child. Each year I heard at least part of the Easter story in a church. Sometimes I felt tired of hearing it, or bored, especially when I thought I had already heard the whole story.
Over time, I started to realize already hearing the story did not mean I knew everything it had to tell me. My realization blossomed into new understanding. I began to see having answers is often not as helpful as asking good, honest questions. My questions showed I was spiritually stronger, not weaker.
Hidden Easter was revealing itself to me.
Easter has become less of an event for me and more of a way of living. Each day can be filled with resurrection.
I thought I knew the all answers, thought I knew how the story ends.
Easter is about how the story continues.
For some of us Easter is hidden by a transcendence beyond our understanding. How can we find words to describe an experience which changes how we experience ourselves? Easter causes us to explore what we believe.
Others of us become captives of the language we hear about Easter. We hear theological explanations and teaching put into unfamiliar words. Many of us do not take the time to appreciate whether the language we have heard matches our own stories.
Some of us have decided the confusing, conceptual talk about Easter is not worth it. We ask questions and are more doubtful after we hear the explanations.
Exploring is about investing the time and effort it takes to appreciate Easter for ourselves, not about what anyone else tells us.
Discovering Our Hidden Easter
Many of us are finishing a long, difficult year when Easter was particularly hidden. We have experienced a year which seemed to be more about death than resurrection.
It has been a year when the world seemed to be immersed in loss and pain, saturating every moment of each day. We have lost people and careers we loved. Some of us felt we had lost our reasons to continue living.
Now we are waking up to discover the hidden Easter for which we have been searching. It is like we are still looking for those eggs of my childhood, but we are seeking something more.
The hidden Easter we desire is not full of the unsatisfying, empty calories of candy or chocolate bunnies. We are looking for something more essential.
Our hidden Easter is about our purpose, the significance of our continuing journey. We want to know we are doing more than taking one step after another each day.
Each of us expresses what our hidden Easter holds in our own ways. Asking questions and listening well, I help people discover their own hidden Easter and where it takes them. Where will Easter take us?
Living Into Our Hidden Easter
Our hidden Easter is not limited to what we learned as children or what we think we know about the story.
Like a new spring flower, it reveals itself to us by opening its petals.
We choose how we respond to the Easter story we discover and explore. It is our option to live into what it has for us, unfolding in beauty. If we pay attention, we catch its color from the corner of our eye. We find its aroma on a pleasant breeze.
We need to remember Easter is not merely a day of rejoicing. Its story includes pain and loss, fear and anxiety, resignation and sacrifice.
Each day, each moment, brings the hidden story into clearer focus. We listen and pay attention, and our hidden Easter reveals itself to us.
As we discover and explore the purpose hidden for us, we begin to live into our own Easter story.
The story draws us in, fills us with new life, and shows us how to live into what we find. Resurrection blooms each day.
Where will our hidden Easter reveal itself today?
How will we explore our hidden Easter this week?
[Image by A_Peach]
Greg Richardson is a spiritual director in Southern California. He is a recovering assistant district attorney and associate university professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and his email address is StrategicMonk@gmail.com.