Happy Easter to you all & happy Spring to those who don't care for Easter! Tomorrow I may be able to post a few fun Easter pics of my boys through the years (so glad they don't read me!), but for today you can see me here being the calm big sister. I so loved those little white gloves!
The memories I am about to share took place many, many years after this photo was taken. Hit "Fast Forward" on your time machine with me OK? That sweet little girl up there grew up to be the very sweet wife of a pastor. Some of you who are involved in church life.....and there is really no such thing as being "a little bit involved", kinda like being a "little bit pregnant", when it comes to church life, you are either all the way in or not. If you volunteer for one thing, you will soon hear your phone ringing for about 50 million other things. Churches run on volunteer help, so if we see your timid little hand even slightly twitch during a planning meeting....ta da! YOU ARE IT! Yay you!
As I was saying, if you are involved in church life you have no doubt seen your pastors' wife standing next to her hubby after church greeting the people as they leave the service or warmly embracing several different people all over the sanctuary following a beautiful & inspiring Easter service. From a distance she looks so serene, cool & collected. You may even feel a twinge of jealousy as you recall your crazy, difficult morning getting your young family to the early sunrise service & then pulling the kids away from their Easter baskets in order to go to the special church celebration on time.
I was that calm, cool & collected pastors wife. I loved my life & chosen path, but I was jealous of you. Holidays were such crazy, hectic times that I now sometimes regret the energy & time I gave to making an event run perfectly, possibly to the slight neglect of my boys. Our years of Senior Pastoring were during the boys growth from 5 & 9 to about 15 & 19. Both Christmas & Easter were all about the church events, supplies, decorations, parties, gifts for the Board & teachers, Holiday Programs, community outreaches & on & on the list goes.
I loved Easter (still do!) & all it stood for. We decided that it should be as wonderful & full of life as Christmas, so we planned many special things for that one day each year. Our town, like many communities then, offered an Easter Sunrise Service where all the churches in town who could agree on at least one thing, got together to greet the rising sun with songs, scriptures & freezing people in the local park. So our church joined & took part in the planning of this once a year gathering. That meant dragging my two boys out of their cozy beds at crazy-dark-o'clock & bundling them up to go stand in wet, soggy grass for an hour.
Which brings me to another Easter observation! Easter is celebrated in the Spring so we all bought these silly, light-weight flimsy dresses & sandals & then found ourselves freezing most of the morning as we stood outside watching our kids hunt for Easter eggs. Well, consider the temperature at DAWN! I finally figured out that the early park function would not be at all compromised if I wore some warm pants....as long as I kept my dressy, long coat on over them! Ha! (I know....times have changed...yay!)
After the sunrise service I got my kiddos back home & packed up to return to the church for the annual pancake breakfast before the actual Easter service began. In between each of these jaunts my boys are running back to their sweet filled Easter baskets that they found at the foot of their beds when they woke up. The sugar rush is beginning to catch up with them later on when the real service is about to begin & the whole church is very quiet.
So, there I am, all dressed up & working in a tiny old-fashioned kitchen with an ugly apron over my pretty new spring dress. The boys are now sliding out of my sight whenever possible to do who knows what on the blackboards of the Sunday school classrooms. The fellowship hall of our little church was packed to over-flowing (literally) with happy, dressed-up families & many families who only came to church on this one Sunday each year. It was loud, fun & full of life, I loved it!
Towards the end of the breakfast time I would sneak into the crowd & quietly gather the teen-agers to put them to work hiding plastic-candy-filled Easter eggs all over the church lawns. A few of the ladies in the church & I had spent several hours earlier in the week stuffing these eggs with non-melting, paper wrapped candies. While the grown-ups were eating the breakfast we also somehow manged to get the little ones to decorate pastel colored paper lunch sacks to collect their eggs in.
Keep in mind that during all this activity I am also being the gracious & inviting hostess to new people who were being brought up to me for introductions all morning. Because we were a small church, I literally had my hands in on every single activity that happened. I am still working on learning to delegate! I'm sure it will not surprise you to hear that the beginning moments of the actual Easter Service were my first chance to sit down all morning & even though it was not easy to keep a couple of sugar wired boys in control, it was beautiful to sit & watch someone else, my hubs, take charge. For some reason we had decided that it was important for the kids to be in the service instead of going out to the kids service on that day! Of course it was probably ME that made that decision because I was the KIDS CHURCH director too! As I write this I have absolutely no idea how I did so much!
I don't believe my sons would say that they were cheated by this life. At least not in a huge degree, but I know that I feel like I may have robbed myself of enjoying them more rather than taking care of everyone else. We had wonderful Easter afternoons with my parents & sibs who lived an hour away. After church we changed into more comfy clothes & packed ourselves into the mini-van....hmm, I need to interrupt myself there & correct that statement. I changed into comfy clothes, but KEPT the boys in their nice outfits (such as they were by that point) so that Grandma could see how cute they looked. Ha! Sorry guys! I let them change after Grandma got her pictures taken of them! We got to watch the boys & their cousins do another egg hunt in Grandmas' yard & sit down to an amazing meal with tons of laughter & teasing. The drive home late that night would be a very quiet one as the boys snoozed with candy wrappers & plastic green grass in their hands. Actually I don't think I would change very much about those days if I had the chance.