On Easter morning I woke up to soon find out that a friend of mine had given birth to her baby girl. Though the little bundle wasn’t expected to arrive until April, she decided to make her appearance a little early. And so, while people around the country and around the globe spent the morning reflecting on and celebrating resurrection life in church services and at kitchen and dining room tables, this mom spent the morning celebrating life holding her newest child, counting fingers and toes, reveling in the softness of newborn skin, the perfection of newborn fingernails, the sweet scent of everything new. Pinky fingers were admired, eyelashes fawned over, and a new name whispered over and over again into fresh pink ears that drank in every syllable. On Easter morning, there was a family I knew celebrating all new life has to offer.
On Easter evening, I heard the news that a dear friend’s mother had breathed her last. Easter morning was the first morning my friend ever awoke to a world without her mother. A life wrapped up, tucked in, and passed along; a family mourning a terrible loss on a day of so much celebration. This family knows the Easter story, knows the triumph of life over death, and boldly shared in some of that blessing even as they braced against the first wave of grief, but still I couldn’t help but marvel at this day, bookended by life and death, each moment in between filled with the mixture of joy at overcoming and the torment over what had to take place before such triumph could be had. At the very first Easter, an ending then a beginning; at this year’s Easter, a beginning and then so quickly an ending. Easter, this day that challenges our simple understandings of life and death and begs us to consider what may lay deeper still.
On Easter, we hosted friends at our home for the afternoon and into the evening. The grownups talked and the kids all played together and I realize, looking back, how lovely it is to fill the in between times, those times between the beginning and what we know of the end, with moments of love, of connection, of the breaking of bread and the sharing of each day. We all have a beginning. None of us knows when our end will come. But we have today. I have today.
Today I will hug my husband and kids and tell them I love them. Today I will take a deep breath and slow down. Today I will eat some chocolate and some vegetables. Today I will say yes to something that is hard. Today I will say no to something I don’t need. And tonight I will lay my head on the pillow and not feel bad for what didn’t get done, because there’s no going back, there is only now. I will live now, in the beauty of this moment, taking care to plan for the moments to come without trying to get there ahead of schedule. Today I will continue to a build a legacy that I say one day I will pass down to my kids, but really I am already passing down in the way I touch their hearts and nourish their souls and kiss their cheeks each day.
Today I will remember a mother meeting her newborn daughter for the first time. Today I will remember a daughter saying goodbye to her mother for the last.
Today I will live.