My oldest son’s favorite holiday is Easter. And by far his favorite part of Easter has always been the Easter egg hunt. He finds something truly magical in, first, the hunt to find the eggs and then the cracking open of each egg to find something special inside. When he was little, he’d sleep with his basket full of plastic eggs long after the holiday had passed, just waiting in anticipation for its return.
Several years ago was an extra-special Easter for this lover of egg hunts. Around the start of Lent, my son came home to announce that he discovered something new and exciting about eggs: sometimes when they crack open, they contain a chick! His class was incubating chicken eggs set to hatch right before the Easter break. “Can we have a chick when they hatch, Mom?” he asked almost every day. Eventually, I agreed we would take one.
He gave us at home regular updates about the eggs and all he was learning. “Did you know, Mom, that if you shine a flashlight on the egg, you can see the outline of the chick inside?” The excitement building in his little body over the anticipation of the chicks was palpable and transferred easily to all of us in the house. “They are coming soon!” he’d say at the beginning of each week. And then, each Friday, he’d walk out of the building saying, “Not yet, Mom. Not yet.”
There were many times along the journey when he got a little impatient with the wait. “Mom, it just seems like the chicks are never coming. I’ll have to wait for them forever.” Other times he would express his real worry that something would happen to the chicks before they could be born. “Mom, I just want them to be OK. I love them all so much.” Those were the moments when his body would hunch a little with the weight of it all.
As I watched him journey through this experience, I thought a lot about how he was tangibly feeling the waiting element of Lent in a way I had not in years. I wondered when the last time was that my body could not contain the excitement over the pending Resurrection of the Lord. When was the last time that my body hunched over with the weight of all the Lord experienced along his path to the Cross? And when was the last time that I slept with the remnants of Easter by my side, not wanting to let it all go just yet?
The day that my son came home and told me the chicks had finally arrived, I had never seen him so happy. He bounced around the rest of the day talking excitedly about having one particular chick come home with him. Then, the day before Easter break, his teacher boxed up his chick for him, leaving a few holes in the top for air. My son held that box carefully and reverently in his lap the whole way home. When we pulled into the garage, he slowly slipped off his seatbelt and walked the box inside. Then, once safely home, he opened up the box slowly and showed me his new friend, with a look of boundless joy. The rest of Easter weekend, he made sure to tell anyone who would listen about the chick. He spread the good news with a smile that announced to everyone he met that something truly wonderful had happened. And again, I wondered: when was the last time I announced the Resurrection of the Lord like that?