Today started off as blah day. Well, the blah actually began last night.
Yesterday afternoon, the sneezing began and I was holding out hope that it was just allergies. Yet, as the night went on and I sat in my (awesome!) “Jesus in the Face of World Religions” class, learning about who many Hindus believe Jesus to be, the sneezing continued and a fever began to develop. Joy! By bedtime, my throat was sore and I knew it wasn’t allergies.
I had caught a cold. Fun. And just when I thought I had made it through winter crud season unscathed. “What makes having a cold more fun?” I imagined. Oh, I know. Let it also be Spring Break week so that when any one (or multiples) of your five children are speaking to you, it sounds as if each one is sounding off into a megaphone.
I decided to take refuge in my bedroom and try to take it easy today by attempting get some light work done around the house. My goal was simply to organize bags of mysterious stuff that I probably gathered and bagged and shelved prior to having company at some other point in time. “What are in these mystery bags?” I thought.
As I sat on the floor sorting through paperwork hell, dreaming of burning every last piece of paper in these piles, I looked up and glimpsed an old laptop. “Yay, a distraction!” I thought. Happy to find a distraction to filing oh-so-important documents that I forget to remember we have, I remembered that photos from our trip to Ethiopia to meet Big Sister were stored on that laptop.
Wow, that trip was how many years ago? How does time pass so quickly? Lemme just take a quick look…
See you later mysterious bag of boring paperwork! As I opened the laptop, and tried to piece a timeline together, I remembered that our Meetcha Trip coincided with Easter 2012. And I couldn’t help but recall an awesome experience that happened on that trip.
You see, at that point in time, I was admittedly bah-humbuggy with the whole Easter egg hunt thing. I couldn’t understand how we (Christians) could take what is arguably the most significant day of remembrance and celebration in our Christian year and turn it into something about bunnies, candy, consumerism, non-ethicially sourced chocolate and cavities.
When you ask a group of Sunday school children who the Easter Bunny is and they shout out in unison, “Jesus!” I believe we have a problem. 🙂
I am still a little (a lot) sketched out by the creepy bunny, I will admit. Why is he always smiling like that?
Yet, I also knew we would be celebrating Easter at a few different orphanages. I knew we would be celebrating the Risen Lord, the one who conquered death and the one who promises us that in his kingdom, there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, no sadness, no lonliness, nor death. In his kingdom, there are no orphans, because we are all sons and daughters.
And so while I was packing to head to Ethiopia in the Spring of 2012, something inside prompted me to pack an entire duffle bag worth of plastic filled eggs and some other goodies for our trip. And I did not regret it!
Here is a tiny glimpse of a game, the once villainized Easter egg hunt, that went on for a few days at two different orphanages. So joyous!
Check it out. How adorable are these sweet kiddos in this video? (You might need to click the link to view.)
And while watching these precious children scramble, hunt eggs and share their finds with friends, what struck me the most was their generosity. The generosity, the selfless nature of most of these children….children who have absolutely nothing but are always willing to share what they have with others…never ceases to amaze. They teach me so much about Christ.
That lesson, that if Christ is close to the brokenhearted and the brokenhearted are willing to give even when they had nothing, is one I try to keep in the forefront of my mind daily.
Another awesome thing happened on this trip to Ethiopia, back in Easter 2012. Namely, this sweet child, standing beside her orphanage bunk and then helping me hide those perviously despised eggs, became forever and irrevocably part of our family.
More specially, our family…located on two sides of the world…merged into one, happy, messy, broken glimpse of what God’s family would look like without the fallen nature of our world. United in Christ, called to give voice to the voiceless and to simply love because we are loved.
Far from perfect, we embrace our brokenness in love and hold onto the hope that a day will come when there will be no more tears, no more orphans and God’s Creation will be restored to perfect harmony.
And who knows, there may even be egg hunts?
I eventually did get around to filing, sorting, recycling and shredding that mysterious bag. But I didn’t do it alone. The child who was not even physically in our home just two short years ago, sat by my side and helped sort and organize and clean.
In that moment, I was both sitting on my bedroom floor with my oldest daughter and transported back to Ethiopia. Back the orphanage. Back to a powerful Easter Worship experience where hundreds of nations gathered. Back to a tiny glimpse in time where I wasn’t sure I was capable of parenting this child God had called me to. Back to the moment where I stood frozen, outside of our guest house, silently aruging with God, wondering how on earth this would be possible. Back to the moment when fear almost convinced me to run away.
She was so hurt. She was so scared. We had to heal from so much. I can’t do this. I am not equipped, God!
The truth, is that I wasn’t equipped. Not even close. But, I didn’t have to be and God knew that. God promised to do the hard work, if I would just show up. And then show up again the next day, and the day after that. God promised to do the redeeming, if I could just remember what truly mattered.
And what truly matters has nothing to do with bunnies or egg hunts or any other minor we often choose to major in. What truly matters is incarnational living on earth. Putting flesh on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What truly matters is that we show up wearing love every single day.
Oh, and for me, hearing orphaned children squealing with delight while searching for eggs is a sound that I will never forget. Seeing precious boys and girls selflessly share what little they have, because that is the simply the right thing to do, is something I will never forget. In those moments, the kingdom of God on earth was revealed and I was ashamed and humbled at how misplaced so many of our desires, even those we like to slap a Christian label on, often are.
Thinking of those children and their voices, I am reminded of of who God is and who I am in relation to God. I am reminded of what we are all called to do as Followers of the Way.
Egg hunts, optional. 🙂