Easter is rather magnificent, isn't it? A holiday that not only welcomes and glorifies spring but then also...and most incredibly important...we remember and both reverently and triumphantly celebrate our Savior's resurrection. My favorite of all hymns, "He Is Risen," was the first I ever learned to play on the piano when I was a young teenager. And I still remember my Dad insisting that this was no quiet sacrament hymn. This song was all about joy and triumph and that the dynamics and feeling in my playing needed to reflect that.
sure I've made frequent comments about favorite holidays.
Thanksgiving, mostly...but then in the summer how much I adore the 4th
of July. How I love my Irish roots on St. Patrick's Day. And of course
how wonderful Christmas is. This past Sunday I would've vehemently
insisted that Easter is without a doubt my favorite. I think that I
just throw myself so fully into special days that each and every one is
my "favorite"....at least in their season.
Easter, though. Easter always leaves me so spiritually rejuvenated and this year was no exception.
always tried to keep the Easter egg hunt part of things on Saturday so
we can focus on the Savior on Sunday. Normally we hunt eggs at Bryan's
parents house. They've annually, since Rebekah was 3 years old, hosted a
huge egg-stravaganza with cousins and second cousins, aunts, uncles and
grandparents. But the the hunt had grown so much over the years that
Bryan's parents as of last year declared themselves done. (Probably
also due to the sheer number of teens that maybe don't care so much
about hunting for eggs anymore?) The thing is, our normal neighborhood
hunt didn't happen this year either. Which meant it was up to me.
Lilian being only 4 years old, a hunt was still a big deal to her...even
a make-shift one in our backyard. She not only insisted on helping me
choose the candy at the store but also filling the plastics eggs. And
then I think she even did a little bit of peeking out the window when I
was hiding them. Funny enough, her older teenaged sisters also insisted
on hunting for eggs. I guess they're not too old after all.
(See here for the explanation of why we don't really do the traditional Easter Bunny at our house.)
Early church and all, they only gave their baskets a passing glance as
they rushed around trying to get beautified for Easter Sunday.
was the only one with a special, new dress, though, seeing as the older
kids have long since outgrown that sort of thing. She strikes a pose
well, doesn't she? :)
Still....don't they ALL look nice?
ward choir did a big program for Sacrament Meeting so not only did I
get to sing but also play the piano for the two singing contributions
from the primary kids. After church I put on my apron, got Lex de
Azevedo's "Hosanna" playing on my CD player, and began to work on our
Easter feast. I have to admit, I had tears rolling down my face as I
made the funeral potatoes. Not from the onions I was
chopping...although I'm sure that didn't help...but from the glorious
music. I almost always listen to music as I cook. But listening to
"Hosanna" on Easter...an oratorio that means more to me than any other
music I have ever sung or listened to....the tears flowed readily.
Julianne, as she always does, helped with the fancy
table. And by the time my parents arrived to share our meal, we were
ready with a ham, the aforementioned funeral potatoes, roasted carrots
and green beans with a lemon vinaigrette. My mother added homemade
rolls to the mix and with the promise of strawberry shortcake for
dessert, we had quite the feast.
The music and narration was
glorious. I found myself dangerously close to tears during the final
two numbers...to the point that the choir director even gave me a
somewhat stern and pained look...and mouthed something up at
me...something to the effect that I better not cry! I'm not sure if he
was worried that my tears would make it harder for him to hold it
together (which, apparently he WAS actually having a hard time with) or
if he was concerned that if I was bawling I wouldn't be able to get out
those high notes that he totally depends on me to do. Maybe a little of
It's hard, actually. Because, yes. If I've
spent that long working on a performance then I surely want to sing it
well. And heaven knows, I cannot sing well when I am crying. (You know
Snow White's warbly little vibrato that is so irritating? That's more
or less what I sound like when I'm crying and singing at the same time.
Except even worse.) But at the same time...if I've spent that long
working on a performance then I surely am invested and want to let
myself really FEEL the music and the message. I don't want to be so
entirely clinical that I don't appreciate what I'm actually singing
about! But I pulled it together. I sang that finale with all the best
that was in me. And then I sat down and let the tears flow. And flow
they did...I was wishing mightily for waterproof mascara. Because I
wept. And for the rest of the evening I had the lyrics of that final
song running through my head:
He comes again with outstretched arms,
"Come unto me," He pleads.
To all of those who labor
And those with heavy cares.
For I will ease your burdens
And you will find your rest.
Sorrow will be turned to joy,
Happiness will find all
Who see His face,
Who touch His hands,
And feel his warm embrace.
The power of His healing touch;
His love doth conquer all.
He came to those with weary hearts,
He strengthened the feeble knees.
He came to those whose hands hung down,
And he did succor the weak.
And this I know,
He comes again!