It wasn’t until I looked back over yesterday’s photos that I realized something important was missing from one photo…Look at the two pictures of “Little Big Red”- comparing last Easter to this one…the one on the left showed the Boo’s Blessing plaque -Easter 2019… but it was conspicuously absent from this Easter 2020.
I always keep my Boo’s Blessing plaque on the wall…and yet, now I realize (to my chagrin) that I must have taken it down to decorate for Christmas and never put it back up again. That would stop immediately! (*As you can see in the title photo…“All is right with the world again.”)
This Easter really was all about counting my blessings. I think for many of us a viral pandemic of this magnitude might have been what we needed to get back on the right track. I realized Sunday morning that when you remove all the “burry scurry” and running around… planning and preparing for Easter…you are left with time to absorb its true meaning.
Mollie sent me a link to her church’s service and said that she thought I would be interested in this Easter’s message. The sermon was titled “From the Garden to the Grave.” I clicked it on and quickly became immersed in the unusual direction the message was taking.
At first the title seemed a little disconcerting…gardens and graves? We think of gardens as symbolic of new life and beauty while graves depict death and fear. But my curiosity got the best of me.
The pastor used three scriptural gardens to tell the story through benchmarks of life experiences. The three gardens were The Garden of Eden, The Garden of Gethsemane and the Garden of Golgotha.
The minister took us back to where it all started…The Garden of Eden…we had it all..paradise… no problems and then, of course, we blew it. It was a terribly costly mistake. It would be remembered as the garden of regret.
Don’t we all go through life wishing we could un-do or re-do something we regret doing? Our garden has now become a grave of regret that we must trust in God to overcome so the garden can become one of hope.
The second garden is Gethsemane. Today we remember this garden in the context of betrayal. It was here among the olive trees that Jesus’ disciples betrayed Jesus physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Yet aren’t we all guilty of doing this at different times in our lives…we must pray for forgiveness so our garden and life can bloom again.
After Jesus’ body was removed from the cross…it was taken down and quickly buried in a nearby garden (since the Sabbath was almost upon them.)
It was the Garden of Golgotha…or the site of the skull. It represented finality, the end of life. But instead…it turned into a place where crying and tears ceased because the ending became the new beginning. It was a place where the grave became the garden. (Just like we are promised by Jesus with his sacrifice for us on the cross.)
I love the idea of the three gardens and their connections to the challenges we all face in life…it is why my garden is so special to me…a place to think, meditate, and delight in life.
And what a surprise delight Easter turned out to be! I went around sharing donuts with the neighbors…the “Donut Bunny”…and like Vickie said in her text…”Oh my gosh…best Easter brunch ever.” 🙂 I agree…as I joined in!
The family sent pictures of their family’s Easter Egg Hunt this year and conversations…and then I saw where I had missed a call from Mandy…they were on their way to surprise me with an Easter lunch they had ordered from a restaurant close by their home.
Mandy said the kids could go out in the garden and see Fairy land while I ate and they played… everyone would be doing invisible hugs and high fives. They did…and it was just so nice to see the family up close and personal again…even if we couldn’t touch.
While all of this was happening…I saw a white car stop out in front of house and a beautiful young girl come up to the porch…it was Colby, Jo’s gorgeous granddaughter….Jo was in the car! By the time I got to the porch…Colby was almost back in the car. I picked up the box with the cutest picture of Winnie the Pooh on it. Jo told me to open the lid and the message inside would explain the box.
“This is your happy box,”
Whenever you feel down, open up your box for instant joy. When you receive a note or an object that brings you joy, add it to your box.
It is up to you what you add. This is your happy box. Fill it with love, hope, laughs, joy, beliefs, prayers, and encouragement. Enjoy your box.
With love, Colby and Grandma
If the family hadn’t been inside I probably would have lost it right then and there on the porch. The box was filled with an amazing assortment of nostalgic items…for example…one was a glass cross…empty because Jesus has left it to live in us.
One item, however, did bring me to tears…It was a heart with a collage on the front and back. It would have taken a long time to cut out all these old photos of my family and personal mementos and paste them on the heart.
As Wayne and Garth (In Wayne’s World) would say ” We’re not worthy”…and I know I certainly am not. You two are completely unbelievable…what a gift…one I will treasure the rest of my life and remember each and every Easter still left to me.
*Jo…I am so glad you and Colby are in it…because your “dynamic duo” is unforgettable to me in my life.
So until tomorrow…Easter is “Death Working Backwards” C.S. Lewis (From the grave back to the garden…new birth, new life)