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When Judy McKeehan's oldest son was 4, he decided that he didn't believe in the Easter bunny.
"You can't tell me that a bunny hops all over the world leaving baskets of eggs and candy," he said.
So the boy's mom asked him. Who did he think did that?
He was ready with an answer. "A man in a bunny suit, of course."
Has anything changed since this appeared in 1996?
A) I view it as a religious occasion, of course.
B) It's a chance to go to church and see if there is anything around here that can get people to dress up.
C) I think it has something to do with pagan rites of spring.
D) Chocolate bunnies, et cetera.
E) It is a ham-based holiday.
F) It's when nitwits give live baby animals to small children as if these gifts are toys.
G) Isn't that when the Mariners are usually mathematically eliminated?
H) I know it is sponsored by Legoland.
Whatever faith tradition, or whatever anyone does or does not believe, the Easter metaphor of life, suffering, death followed by rebirth, is found everywhere. In nature, for sure, as winter's bareness covers all the life in sleeping beneath frozen ground. In our life stories, for sure. Hard times come and go, as do better times, and the cycle repeats itself throughout most people's lives.
I'm looking as I write these words at the beautiful face of Zayana Grace Mendez. She lived just 16 weeks, according to her obituary in our newspaper today. She was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a genetic bone disorder characterized by fragile bones that break easily, according to the OI website.
In those 16 weeks, Zayana obviously gave much joy. From her obituary:
"Blessed with a full head of hair, she loved to have it brushed and accented with colorful bows…She had an uncanny way of knowing just what someone needed — a comforting look, a beautiful smile or silly action…Zayana was a fighter and taught us all about strength and courage. She touched the souls of all who knew her…Our warrior princess will be greatly missed."
The warrior princess didn't live to see her first Easter. But it sounds as if she brought some of its essential message to those who loved her.
Years ago, the week before Easter Sunday, I sat beside my sister’s hospital bed watching her fever rise and listening to her struggle to breathe.
She was so sick, fighting for every breath, and I was powerless to help her in any way. The only thing I could do was be there so she could see me when she woke up. So she would know she wasn’t alone.
The nights were the worst, punctuated by harsh light, the eerie, alien sounds of IV alarms and the hissing and gurgling of the oxygen.
To keep my anxiety at bay, I brought a project to the hospital with me each day. Something to quiet my mind and keep my hands busy.
While my sister slept I sat in a chair beside the bed and smocked cotton Easter dresses for my daughters. Smocking, is an old, old way to decorate a garment. Fabric is pleated and then tiny stitches made with embroidery floss hold the pleating in place. The range of patterns run from simple geometrics to elaborate images.
I never really learned to sew, the finer mathmatic elements of construction eluded me, so I had a friend who always put the garments together for me. But, I could smock. I wasn’t an expert, but I could count the pleats and follow the simpler graphs. I could, building one stitch on top of another, turn an ordinary piece of cotton into a little work of art.