E is for Empire Swimming and Easter.
As a swim coach, I thought it funny that I ended up on my first flight to Laity Lodge with a swim team. I didn’t mind. Swimmers are some of my favorite people in the whole world.
Especially when I get to overhear conversations like this —
Swimmer A: This is my first time flying. I hope I get a window seat.
Swimmer B: You know you can’t open the window, right?
I laughed, wondering if Swimmer A thought he could open the window and stick his hand out to zoom through the oncoming air.
When the plane took off, I thought of him again, especially when I got that giddy feeling that makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time as the wheels leave the ground.
Flying is such a miracle.
Over a hundred people crammed into a metal tube, with their suitcases and laptops and books — but somehow that heavy thing climbs into the sky.
I really do grin like a 10-year-old and get the watery eyes of a senior citizen at the moment of transformation from earthbound to air-born.
It happened to me again yesterday. Not the flying part, but the laughing/crying part.
Easter Sunday is, in my opinion, the most important Christian holiday. The crux of our faith lies in the truth that Jesus bore the penalty for our sins on the cross and then conquered death in His resurrection.
Churches around the world have traditions associated with Easter. Over the years we’ve attended churches with sunrise services, cardboard testimonies, hymn sings, dramas, and traditional liturgies. Each new way of celebrating offers a fresh look at an old but oh-so-beautiful story.
The church we currently attend closes with Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and a joyful procession of the children.
Curmudgeonly me, I said to Bud yesterday morning before church, “I’m ready to move on to something besides caterpillars and butterflies.”
I’ll blame it on the persistent headache I’ve had for the past week, but, more likely, I’m just a grump.
When the procession started, though, and the caterpillar came waddling up the center aisle, I felt that wheels-leaving-the-runway giddiness.
And when the children threw off the caterpillar shroud to reveal the butterflies, I confess, my eyes got a little watery.
As the procession continued with waving flags and ever larger butterflies, I was thankful for the joy that filled our sanctuary.
Because, if there was one thing I needed to be reminded of yesterday, it was joy.
Confetti-filled, silly-stringed, laugh-out-loud joy.
The kind where it doesn’t matter whether or not the window opens, because you can still feel the wheels leave the tarmac, and know that it’s a miracle, and that you’re being carried somewhere beyond, somewhere amazing.
Easter is that kind of amazing, pressed down, shaken over, overflowing.
The biggest miracle of them all.