Last night, mom and I sat and talked. It wasn't unlike the other nights we've spent hidden inside for the last month. But as she got up to switch the laundry and passed back by the spot on the couch that I've claimed as my own, she said, "Wow, I'm really glad I married your dad and you girls were in church every Sunday from the time you were born up until now. I'm so glad that you have relationships with God like this. I can't even imagine what it would have been like if I had ended up with somebody else."
Today was Easter, the day we are supposed to celebrate with wide smiles, brightly colored dresses, peppy worship services and floral installations across barn wood walls where we take cheery family photos to share on social media.
For some reason it all seemed slightly anticlimactic. I've been thinking a lot and studying about what heaven is like and for some reason, the bright lights and white robed choir just didn't do it for me. (Though I adore our church and appreciate the thought and creativity that went into conveying what Easter is about.) I guess what I'm saying is that mom and I wondered last night what Easter is like in heaven. When you're not just hopeful at the concept of eternal life, but when you're actually living it.
Last week, on the beach where Erin lives now, the sunset was the most beautiful thing that I'd ever seen. The light was reflecting off the water and it was incredible how iridescent it looked. The way that the lavenders, the peaches and pinks, the soft golds were shining in those last moments before the sun dropped below the horizon. I was working, so when I caught my breath, I snapped a photo of it to remember that moment. I've gone back to that photo a few times since then. I think my version of heaven would look like the beach on this night. I know that that was probably yours, too, since I got my love of the beach from you.
I hope you're out there having the best celebration of all. The celebration that happens because He came back just as promised, because you said yes to living a life solely to proclaim that miracle and because you finally made it and got your reward for a life well lived. I can only imagine the abounding joy and more likely than not, the endless banquet tables filled with Cadbury Eggs and chocolate pie. I bet heaven's version of Easter is wild.
Joy. Cadbury Eggs. The peachy pink glittering waves lapping at the sand.
My small mind can't even fathom how amazing it probably was.
I guess maybe it was anticlimactic because we are here and you are there. And today may not have been the best day that I've had since you left. But I know that the reason we celebrate this day is the main reason you got up each day and did work, so tomorrow, after some sleep and maybe some Cadbury Eggs (half price, because I haven't been able to bring myself to buy them yet), I'll feel better and I'll celebrate and continue to get up each day and do the work you started.
Remember when I got baptized on Easter at age eleven? I'd been talking about it for awhile and it finally happened. I was so excited. I remember grandpa telling me that I should hold my breath, but he would cover my nose when he dunked me under the water. I remember the Bible I was given, a welcome gift to this new life. I remember my wet hair as we headed to lunch to celebrate. But most of all, I remember you. On the other side of the baptistry. Beaming at me as I made a decision to spend this one life I have serving the God that you loved so much.
Easter. The day you celebrate with wide smiles.
Here are some photos from Easter past. Eggs and bunnies and baskets, and the photo that my dad took of me after I gave my confession of faith and came up out of the water made new. He might not be in it, but the photo I took in my mind of him with that wide smile will forever be my favorite one.