Happy Easter (yesterday).
It was quite a holy week, as in holy cow, that was exhausting. Exhausting but still lit with glory tucked into little moments as we paused each day to remember the great and glorious Easter miracle.
My mom gave me a book called “Christ Centered Easter” a few years back and I read it the week before Holy Week, along with my sister Saren’s suggestions and my friend Catherine’s ideas and I determined then and there to make the week a real event. I put everything on my to do list off till next week and tried to focus all of my efforts on making Holy Week a real bright spot in our family tradition. I wanted to adorn it with tastes and sounds and emotions and experience that would stamp the significance and glory of Easter into their little souls.
The problem is, once I find a good idea I feel beholden to it, like I have to pull it off, and after reading and thinking I was chalk full of good ideas that I was determined to pull off. We made an Easter tree and decorated eggs, we re-enacted Palm Sunday and tried to understand what Christ was doing each day of the week prior to his death on Good Friday. We had secret pals and tried to do some secret services for each other. We read parables, watched bible videos, learned new Easter songs, read Easter stories. We had a Passover Seder/Last Super to help the kids try to understand some of the Jewish tradition that Christ lived and what his final meal might have been like. We ate fish and honeycomb.
I think I may have bit off just a tiny bit more than we can chew (and definitely more than Jeff wanted to chew) and planned some things that might have worked better (been more spiritually uplifting and less frustrating) if I was doing them with a group of mature adults instead of varying ages of wild Shumway children.
On Good Friday I was starting to feel a bit defeated, wondering why my children sometimes seem to be getting in the way of me raising them, and wondering if I’d be a better mother if I just sat on the couch and read a novel (to myself). After all my efforts I wasn’t sure they were really getting it and I feared that perhaps I’d stamped the glory out of it by expecting so much of them, so much focus and reverence and depth. They are just children, are they too young to get something so profound? I don’t think so, but was I making it too burdensome with that long Passover Seder and all the scripture based activities that weren’t so terribly exciting? Probably a bit. Were they feeling loved as I moved them through all of these newfound Holy Week traditions, because, really that’s the only thing that’s important.
I was in the middle of some kind of prep for something when Charlie, who had disappeared into the attic for an hour came down and beckoned me to come and see what he had made. I have to admit, I hesitated, not really too eager to see yet another jet fighter plane when I had so much to accomplish before dinner. But then he brought me this: And I was floored. Hallelujah! It was sinking in! Even though it seemed he was barley listening and constantly moving and giggling, he was indeed internalizing the things we were trying to teach him throughout the week, at least the most important parts. He had absorbed them and then let them flow out of him in the best way he knows how to let things flow out: LEGO. I paused and let it all wash over me too. Something about this LEGO scene hit it home for all of us. He is not there, the stone is rolled back, He is risen. Even though we weren't getting everything right, some of it was getting through, and that felt pretty awesome. I’m still trying to figure out how to modify Holy Week next year. I am learning every year how traditions grow rather and change and evolved and that’s ok. That’s good. It’s a work in progress, and every year is getting smoother. Next year I want to simplify things a bit, cut a few things out, plan ahead a little more, savor more moments. I still want to push us all to do the hard stuff, teach, instruct, focus on Christ, but as I plan out the week for my family I hope I’ll hold back the blog and books and pinterest ideas until I’ve had a good long planning session with the Source. I believe that if I prayerfully plan this Holy Week I can be more in tune with who we are, what we need, how I can move us through our Holy Week observance with a little less frustration and a lot more love.
Egg dying and scripture reading, Passover Seders and Easter trees are all empty without love.
Really, truly, LOVE is the only thing that will stamp any of the Easter glory into their little souls.