They’re still sleeping. Those little ones who are waiting for the Easter Bunny to wriggle his whiskers and hop to their front steps, bringing sweet candy. They won’t sleep much longer, but will wake and soon indulge, donning pastel colored smiles as we drive to church.
They believe so easily, these little ones. I suppose it’s easy to believe in stories about triumph and new life when you spend your days conquering an outsized world. Everything is new to them – the crocuses popping through the ground, the green buds as tiny as they once were, the broken eggshell laying underneath a tree. They saw these treasures last year, but again they are new. You see the world with fresh eyes each day when you are three.
And so it must seem easy to believe a story your mom tells you as she tucks you into bed. About a man who preached love, about a time when hope conquered fear and new life was given. This is their rose and robin egg blue colored world – one where each day finishes with the promise of tomorrow, each night ends with a fresh sunrise. The world is safe, the world is good. The world is new always.
It must get harder to believe as we grow older. We grow used to the rhythms of the earth, and worse – accustomed to the its pain. We are no longer surprised when death and grief color the headlines of the day. At a certain point, we attend more funerals than birthday parties and the promise of new life, or life at all, must begin to seem like a wistful dream of childhood.
This weekend, as flowers push through frozen ground, I remember a cold and windy day ten Aprils ago. A rumor from my friend, a phone call from my mom, a headline on the news. My sleepy Virginia home became the focus of the nation. Dozens of lives taken by gunfire, and a school that would never be the same.
I could have gone to school there, I thought. It could have been my French class a crazed gun man walked in to that morning.
But it wasn’t. And my life goes on, to watch little hands snack on jelly beans, and little feet chase after eggs.
I wish I could believe as easily as a child. I get mired in logic and logistics, until my head aches from questions. One day, the stories I read ring deep and true, the next I find more doubt than peace.
But I will never ceased to be in awe of a world that can hold so much pain and so much hope concurrently. My faith might be, at times, illogical and contradictory. But so are our very lives. It is one mystery of the world we understand less as we grow older.
The little ones might live in awe, for a time, as they unravel the innerworkings of the world. Gravity, clouds, butterflies await discovery. The newness will eventually wear off for them, and a story of new life might seem more like a child’s memory.
But, each spring, I never fail to still be surprised at the first bud I see. Hope is inherent in the birth of the world. Pain, we will always have with us, as well as an infinite capacity for bringing good into the world.
This, I believe.