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“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
As Easter season approaches, I am always a bit conflicted, with both feelings of joy and sadness. Easter means spring, warmer temperatures and a reminder to all of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. As a kid, Easter also meant the Easter Bunny, with jelly beans and chocolate. In 1998, my perspective of Easter changed slightly when we lost my Dad to cancer the week after Easter. We all seemed to go through the motions that 1998 Easter Sunday, knowing the loss that was coming in the very near future. For the years that followed, Easter only seemed to be a reminder of what had been taken from me. My Dad was only 62 years old, and he had just figured out what retired life was all about. He had put his three kids through college, paid for weddings and was proud that we were all gainfully employed. Losing him was just not in the plan.
But, as many of us know all too well, grief is a process, and no two people experience it in the same way. As time marched on, five more grandchildren were welcomed to our family, and our new “normal” slowly evolved. While my children will never know my Dad, I know that I am a better parent because of what I learned from him. He taught us the importance of being kind to all, working hard, and giving back to the church and community. He was not as worried about punishment as he was in the lesson that was learned (especially when I was awarded my first speeding ticket two days after getting my drivers license). While I sometimes think about what was taken from me, I have grown more thankful for the blessing of having him for as long as I did. And, like Jesus, he is watching over my family each day, rejoicing in our victories and offering guidance when we lose our way.
Prayer: Please watch over those who are feeling loss this Easter season. May they find increased strength to face each day. Amen.