A few days before Easter, I was talking to a five-year old as he was having his teeth cleaned. “Do you know who is coming this weekend?” I asked. “Uh huh. The Easter Bunny,” he muttered with dental stuff in his mouth.
“Do you think he will bring you an Easter basket?” I went on. “Already did,” he answered. “The cat pooped in it.” I was almost speechless. After a second, I belted out, “Holy Smokes! That’s awful!” Worst story ever! Sometimes a holiday just doesn’t turn out like you hoped.
Early Easter Sunday morning-the most important day of the year-I rose before the sun to begin preparation for the day. There was much to be done. Dinner would be served right after church but lots of things would come before that. First, children’s church, then Sunday School, and then children’s church again. I bustled about praying for wisdom. Timing was going to be a key today.
We were having roast beef and meatloaf today. The large white roaster was filled with meat, broth and onions. I would have my daughter turn it on when she got up. I rushed to make a note for her. Potatoes were in the crock pot and would be just right for mashing-I hoped. The meatloaves were in the fridge, ready to be put in the oven before church started. (This was a new recipe from Paula Deen!) I had very quietly chopped all the onions and peppers while everyone slept. (My son says I am the loudest Sunday morning chopper in the world.) I was making sweetened and unsweetened tea plus six pots of coffee for Sunday School at the jail. The orange Gott cooler sat on the edge of the crowded cabinet ready to be filled. The kitchen looked like Tom and Jerry had been at work instead of me.
We were doing stations today during children’s church and I was helping with the games. I felt more ready for the games than Sunday School. Though I’ve taught the Easter lesson oodles of times, I felt uneasy and very ill-equipped this morning. Suddenly I realized I had 30 minutes to get showered and dressed!
With everything ready and/or set and coffee sloshing in the back of the car, as I pulled out of the driveway I was not thinking of the glorious morning when Jesus rose from the dead. I was thinking that the deviled eggs I had made the night before might be too sweet.
After SS, I swung by the parsonage to put the meatloaves in the oven. I set the timer to go off at 12:15. They could stay in the oven until we got home. I raced back to the church for the children’s classes, stopping in the sanctuary to speak to as many people as possible.
After church, I hurried home to finish the last details. Other dear hearts were bringing dishes so I wasn’t cooking alone-ptL. I grabbed my apron, ready to mash the potatoes and saw that the power had failed on the oven! Noooo! I yelled in my head. I reset the oven to a million degrees and prayed it would get done immediately.
By the time the potatoes were mashed, rolls were baked, everything was put out and drinks were poured, the Paula Deen meatloaves were done! It was an Easter miracle!
We ate and ate, laughed and reminisced. The little ones hunted eggs that were filled with candy. I quickly set about cleaning the mountain of dishes. I expected my beloved to yell, “Martha! Come and join the family!” from the story in Luke 10. To which I would have called back, “Martha knew everything would be crusted over if she left them!” (I had offers to help, but was too stubborn to accept.)
After the first batch of dishes was done, we played Rook and the snacking began anew. When everyone had gone home and the last dishes were washed, I fell into bed. As I tried to go to sleep, all I could think of was what I should have done better. It was like a cloud that now hung over this very important day.
The cloud lingered ‘til morning. I dragged out of bed and it was heavy on me even on the way to work. Last year, a friend told me that the day after Easter should be a federal holiday. I agree. Was I just tired? The most important holiday had come and gone and I was exhausted. But everybody else had a busy Easter, too, I thought. All my life, my Mom and Aunt Pat had done the same thing and they had survived. What was my deal? I prayed for God to help me shake the gray mood. I was starting a new day! A new week!
Then I remembered the five-year-old boy whose cat had pooped in his Easter basket and had to laugh a little. Sometimes the holidays aren’t what you expected. In reality, I had been focused on too many other things instead of what was most important. I need to start now thinking of ways to simplify the day for the future. I need to keep the main thing the main thing. Like Christmas is about Jesus, Easter is about Jesus, too! He rose from the grave! I don’t ever want it to get lost in the kitchen again!
Dawn Reed is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.