I treasure something that my boss of many years ago once said to me. I was wearing a new dress and jewelry at the time and had taken care to apply a little makeup. He began with "I don't want to be rude or have you take this the wrong way, but you are absolutely beautiful".
Who on earth would have taken that as rudeness? I was thrilled!
My reply was simple. "The outside is just an indication of what has been happening on the inside".
That's really what spring and Easter are all about. They represent changes that have been discretely occurring without notice that suddenly appear all at once.
For months it seems as though there is nothing going on during what might seem to be a dull and inactive winter season.
But when spring comes, everything comes to life.
Eggs break open to reveal little chicks and baby animals make their first appearances. What was camouflaged as dead branches begin sprouting buds that open into beautiful leaves and flowers. The air has a new freshness. The rivers begin to run again. The grass turns green. The birds sing new songs. People whistle light tunes. Even the sun shows up for more hours of the day!
I remember as a child that Easter Sunday meant bright, colourful new hats throughout the church service. Everyone was in obvious celebratory mood singing hymns that announced the fact that the old was being left behind for the promise that new life offered.
Winters can be long and cold in many parts of the world and even in our own personal lives. Sometimes we face trouble or loss and it seems that life will never get better. Struggles can go unseen to others and growth or change can seem, even to ourselves, to be almost impossible to imagine.
It's during those times that we can feel so alone and hopeless. We just can't seem to get where we need to go and everything seems to be bleak and difficult.
It's during those times that we put one foot in front of the other and push ourselves in order to carry on.
We think and work and pray.
And then the spring arrives. And we can smile again. Suddenly others begin to notice that there has been a significant and positive change in our lives. We start blooming and shining and offer a fresh breath of air to all those who are around us.
Well, it's spring again! It's time to throw off the old.
Let go of the things that have been holding you back and, like the birds of spring, begin your day with a new song.
It's time to show off your Easter bonnet and your beautiful smile.
Happy Easter, everyone!