Sharon Randall: A basket of Easter lessons
We teach our children and our childrenís children, as best we can, all the timeless and sacred things we were taught.
Unless we decide that what we were taught was basically a bunch of hooey. In which case, we tend to teach them the direct opposite. Or some odd combination thereof.
Either way, like it or not, stuff gets taught.
Take Easter traditions.
Growing up, I learned from my grandfather ó a sometime, if somewhat befuddled, Baptist preacher ó that Easter is when Christians celebrate Jesusí victory over the grave.
On Easter, if asked to ěsay a few words,î heíd preach forever, singing and dancing, shining brighter than the sun. Nobody shined brighter or preached longer than my granddad.
From my grandmother ó a mischievous woman who loved her husband, hated hypocrites and seldom set foot in church ó I learned that Easter is a day, much like any other, when women are expected to cook and clean, make everybody happy and try to smell really good.
On Easter, when most of her nine daughters dragged their husbands and Lord knows how many children to her table, she would dust her bosom in a sweet cloud of talcum powder and serve up the best ham, potato salad and banana pudding you ever put in your mouth. Nobody cooked better or smelled sweeter than my grandmother.
From my mother ó who was married at 15, divorced at 25 and forever and always unhappy ó I learned that Easter was when I was supposed to make my daddy buy me brand-new, shiny white shoes.
To this day, I hate white shoes.
From my cousin, Bad Linda ó who was younger by a year, but smarter by decades, and whose mother was even unhappier than mine ó I learned that Easter was when you got up early to steal all the Peeps from your cousinsí baskets.
Finally, from my brother ó who was born blind and saw things no one else saw ó I learned that miracles happen at Easter, and every other day of the year.
Resurrection is not a one-time offer. With the tap of a blind childís cane, stones are rolled away. The breath of life is ours for the breathing. Miracles abound. We just need to open our hearts to see them.
So. Of all the things I learned about Easter, what did I try to teach my children?
Let me think. OK. I taught them, more or less, that:
1. The Easter Bunny is a joke to be winked at, enjoyed and not made too much of.
2. There are two reasons we celebrate Easter: Jesusí victory over death, and chocolate.
3. New clothes and white shoes wonít save your soul, and can make you look like a geek.
4. Miracles happen every day; expect them. Salvation is a gift; be grateful. The resurrection defeated death; be alive.
5. Your mother isnít a great cook, but she smells pretty good. And if you sleep too late for church on Easter, she will eat your Peeps.
What will my children teach their children about Easter?
Iím not sure. Theyíve learned things I didnít know at their age. Losing their dad to cancer taught them that prayer isnít always answered in the ways we hope for. But they are learning to trust the answers. Like their mother, they are learning to be alive.
I would hope theyíll teach their children the same things I taught them: To wink at the Easter Bunny, rejoice in the resurrection and be glad for the gift of grace.
If they donít, I will surely understand and respect their role as parents to decide what is best for their children.
Far be it from me to interfere. But I can guarantee you that I will eat all their Peeps.
Email Sharon Randall at email@example.com.