Earlier this week we got a box in the mail from Audrey. It had Easter bunny stickers all over it, which made me tear up a little because Audrey thinks of everything.
Then I opened the box and there was a beautiful card covered with ladybugs in various stages of flight. I started to cry a little more, because Audrey really does think of everything.
And then ... the weeping started. In the box with the card was a beautiful white hand-made baptismal blanket In the card, Auds explained that she started the blanket when she found out that Sean and I had a miscarriage. She knew that, if she waited until we announced another pregnancy, she wouldn't have time to finish the blanket. So, knowing we'd just lost a pregnancy, she started making a blanket for a hoped-for baby. Knowing that it's still early and that loss is always still a possibility, she finished the blanket and put it in the mail ... a soft, warm, tangible sign of hope.
It's not easy for me to describe my feelings in that moment (other than the obvious: "soggy.") I felt hugged. I felt so, so grateful. It feels so good to be reminded that Sean and I aren't alone out here on the edge of Anticipation Cliff ... even though it is risky, even though we know we could be disappointed, we have this crazy hope, and our dearest loved ones are right out there, risking that hope with us.
That's Easter. Easter hope is not shallow, not candy-coated--it's not hope that comes from willed ignorance of death, but rather hope that comes from intimately knowing death AND knowing that death does not have the final word. Based on human experience and expectations, that stone in front of Jesus' tomb should have been the last word on the subject. But it wasn't. The last word is Audrey creating a blanket for a baby long before there's a baby to need it. The last word is God creating Easter morning for us, long before we ever knew we needed it.
The last word is hope. Or, maybe, joy. The surprising kind that CS Lewis wrote about. But, for sure, the last word is not death.
For Easter this year, Sean and I received the gift of hope. I don't think I can thank Auds enough (but I'm certainly going to try!) Thanks also to all of you who are hoping along with us. (The first time I wrote that, "hoping" came out as "hopping," which is also seasonally appropriate.) Whatever this day signifies to you, may it be a day of hope and joy.