Happy Easter, everyone!
You know I love holidays but believe me when I say, Easter is one of my absolute favorites. There’s a gravity to it that is somehow enhanced (rather than overwhelmed or overshadowed) by the lightness of Spring and the fun traditions surrounding it.
One of my favorite Easters was back in 2016, when we lived in Switzerland.
It was just me, Matthew, and Ella at the time (though a positive pregnancy test was only 4 months away) and we were living in Zurich for 6 months for Matthew’s job. This was a truly formative experience for me as a woman and mom and as a follower of Christ.
The first few weeks in Switzerland were rough for me. I can barely even look at pictures of myself from those days because I know the pain and fear behind those smiles. Call it culture shock or homesickness or simply being in way over my head, I was seriously fighting depression. And for some reason, as my days got harder, I thought that justified me studying my scriptures less and less. If I had a particularly difficult time getting Ella to bed or if I said something dumb and American in the market, I would think, “Oh, I only have to read a chapter tonight.” That chapter would soon become a few verses, then one verse, then just the chapter heading, then nothing. Why, when I needed it the most, did I think pulling away from the gospel was the answer?
Probably because it’s easy to confuse relaxing with real joy. Doing nothing is almost never better than doing something. Especially when that something has the balm of Gilead, the bread of life, the light of the world. And I was confused.
But then we got to Easter. And there was all this buildup, all the stores closing, Matthew getting so many days off of work, the city coming to a standstill. I know Europe doesn’t have the reputation of being a super religious place anymore but Easter was a big deal! And I felt the seriousness of it and it felt right to sort of retreat and really reflect on what Easter meant. More than chocolate and bunnies and pastels, though I love all three. But there is something to be loved even more: the sacrifice, the perfect example, the Savior. Easter, maybe more than any other holiday, reminds me to love this man.
And back in 2016, it put me back in my element. Planning outfits and fawning over pastels and trying to get the perfect, curated photo made me feel like myself again.
Being immersed in the gospel healed a lot of the spiritual bruises I’d gotten, like I had been luggage that was jostled around and then finally landed home. And because of the Savior, I will always arrive in one piece.
This Easter is obviously quite different. No train journey through the countryside to get to our church building, most stores are open, and I had two kids’ outfits to plan. But I’m grateful for the Easters past– how they’ve strengthened my testimony and deepened my love. And there is a gravity to this holiday but it only ever lifts me up.
Happy Sunday and Happy Easter, everybody.