An Easter to Remember
President Trump’s aspirational prediction that America would be opening up again for business and social gathering by Easter Sunday was a lovely thought. It makes total sense. After all, this is the holiday that signifies Spring with its newness, vibrancy, and life. Easter is almost a synonym for new beginnings and a fresh start. It signifies and inaugurates the breaking forth of Spring out of the dormancy of Winter.
And so we have Easter expectations. As one of the two great holidays of the Christian calendar and a cultural phenomenon that extends throughout society, we are accustomed to searching for plastic eggs filled with candy, getting dressed up in our pastel Sunday best, gathering together with friends and family for baked ham and scalloped potato casserole. Easter is a time when school is out, Major League baseball is finally underway, and we can get our golf swing in order. So, with most of these things taken away or significantly hindered, how do we do Easter this year? Is Easter – like my class of 2020 son’s varsity baseball season – being taken away from us?
We all are sharing in the challenge to adjust to life and keep up a good attitude in our present situation. One of the remarkable things about Covid-19 and its social impact is the leveling nature of it. With pretty much anything else in this world, we have experts to turn to, people who have experienced or who are studied in this or that matter and can guide us: cancer and abuse survivors, the Greatest Generation and Vietnam War vets, those who weathered economic recessions. But not so with the Covid-19 pandemic. We are all pandemic virgins, uninitiated and naïve to the ways of this plague.
While there are epidemiologists and public health experts, there are no PH.D’s in handling the social and emotional impact of a Covid-19 pandemic to turn to. None of us have gone through anything like this. We don’t have previous experience to fall back on and categories to process all of this. It can be quite discombobulating.
Ticking Time Bombs
In light of this, it should be no surprise when we experience failure and breakdown during this time. That’s certainly true in my family. Being sequestered in our home, having five kids (three teens) with little to do, and being barraged by news of death and disease all around us is a social experiment time-bomb waiting to go off. Recently, we went through a significant domestic disturbance, thankfully not physically violent, but with plenty of emotional and verbal heat. It wasn’t pretty. Thankfully, we worked through it and gained some insight along the way. It even led to some creative means to make the most of this extended, trying time.
With the universal lack of experience in all of this, we should highlight and practice self-compassion as well as patience with each another. And we need to remember: we will get through this! This too shall pass.
Learning New Skills
In the meantime, the forces of change require that we learn many new skills and limber up our agility and flexibility. That includes how we celebrate and observe birthdays and holidays. Easter is going to look and feel different, but it’s not being taken away; it is not undone.
In our family, we are still going to watch Nacho Libre, as we have every Easter for the past dozen years or so (I know, an odd tradition; it’s a long story). We will still gather with our church – this year through Zoom! We will hide some candy-filled plastic eggs for our children (and may fill them with money and good chocolate so our older kids will get into it!). We will seek to adapt and delight in the midst of our limitations.
And maybe, in and through this present social crisis, lies an opportunity to set aside or at least set in its proper place, that which is nice, but unnecessary. We may come to appreciate what is important even more on account of Covid-19. Maybe we will gain greater appreciation for what is essential, for the best and true priorities that should guide and inspire us. Maybe, just maybe, this may be one of the most memorable and remarkable Easter celebrations of our lives.
Though some of the traditions and observances of Easter will look and feel different this year, we can still enjoy the meaning and significance of Easter; we can still experience Easter joy and vitality. We may even appreciate the meaning of Easter more on account of what has been taken away by Covid-19. Easter is about new life and fresh hope. It is about anticipating life springing forth from death. These themes have never been more precious and needed than in this time. Like the message of Easter, we will rise again! So let’s celebrate and enjoy Easter. Let’s make this an Easter to remember!