John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
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For those who celebrate Easter, and for those who do not, to you I say, “Shalom.” May you find peace and harmony. May wholeness be a part of your life.
I’m thinking this on a beautiful, warming up and sunny Sunday — the Sunday before Easter Sunday. I’m in my office in of our 9,000 square foot plant, the light from the overhead fluorescent bulbs around me the only light anywhere. My office, right smack-dab in the middle of our plant, has three walls of half windows, allowing me to see into the show — not to the outside where it’s all sunshiney. There’s darkness all around me.
And, I reckon with the passing of a number of friends over the past few months, weeks of cloudy, damp days, plus the change of ownership of our newspaper group by another after 36 plus years, I’m in a rather contemplative mood. Though it’s spring, I’m not feeling that normal high this time of year usually brings.
I started thinking back to when our boys, Shamus and Sean, were young. When Sean was a sweet, blue-eyed, toe-headed four-year-old he asked me this question: “When I am 10, will you be dead,” adding, “Will you still be my dad?”
That was in April of 2004.
That question kinda shook me. It was just the way he asked, “When I’m 10, will you be dead?”
He could have asked, “When I’m 10 will you be alive?” I think I would have felt better about that question than his original.
When he inquired about my status in his future life I was able to deftly parry the question with a quick answer, “Sean,” I said with all the sincerity I could muster, “when you’re 110 years old, I’ll still be your dad.” And then in a premeditated mumble, as I turned away I added, “Even if I’m not alive then.”
My answer, though shrewd, really skirted the issue. He was mollified; I was off the hook, but I hadn’t answered the question. Will I be alive in six years? Well, I made that mark, plus 12 years. God willing, I will have another good 12, or 22 or 30 before me. However, you never know when a safe is gonna’ fall from 15 floors up, land on your head and flatten you into a pancake. Unlike Bugs Bunny, when that safe falls on you, you won’t be back for the next scene — your story ends. Stop rolling the cameras. Cut. Roll the credits. The End. Hello, St. Peter.
Like Porky Pig said, “Th-th-that’s all folks!”
My answer to little Sean all those years ago should have been something like, “Whether I am dead or alive, Sean, I’ll still be your father . . .” Which could have led to another important discussion about life and death. Rather, I shirked my parental duties and really avoided the question because, in truth, I could have been dead in 2010. But, I didn’t want to tell him that. I didn’t see a need for him to spend any more time thinking his pa could be pushing up daisies sooner or later because accidents and life happens no matter how good of a person you are. Our area learned how freak events can ruin the lives of many good people.
Yeah, understanding mortality is a sucky deal.
Life and death and new life, that’s kinda’ what Easter’s all about, right?
I think Easter’s coming right when I need it to. I want to smell the Easter Lily blossoms. I want to see all the colors of the jelly beans. I want to hug my kids, sisters, nieces and nephews. I want to feel the sun’s warming rays on my face. I want my heart to sing.
More importantly I want it all for you, too.
So, while it’s easy to be angry (it’s an election year, for goodness sakes) seek the spring. Find the flowers. Embrace spring’s rebirth. Enjoy your Easter. Love the life around you and those who make it special.
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