Life lessons come in many different forms, often when you least expect it. Annually at this time of year I always remember one of the biggest, most important lessons I ever received.
My husband was packing the car the night before we were to leave for a 16-hour road trip for spring break. Easter was going to occur while we were gone, and, since our girls were 4 and 6, I was taking all of the paraphernalia that goes along with that holiday. Easter baskets filled with plastic grass, colorful plastic eggs containing trinkets, special stuffed animals, and the like. Plus, there was a big gift for each girl. And, there were new outfits for each. Indeed, the girls were going to be so surprised and thrilled when they discovered what the Easter bunny had brought! Not wanting the kids to peek at their goodies and ruin the surprise, I put each of their items in a black garbage bag so that they could not see anything. I felt so smart for thinking of this…
…until the next morning and we were all piling into the car. I looked around in the back of the mini-van and didn’t see the two black bags. My husband must have left them in the house. I looked around, though, and could not find them. Maybe he hid them because he was as concerned about keeping them a secret as I was. He was in the driveway making last minute car checks in the early morning dawn when I asked him about the bags. His face went blank, and he asked, “What bags?” Uh-oh. I immediately had a sinking feeling.
You have probably already guessed what happened. My darling husband, in his effort to be efficient and forgetting what I had carefully explained to him, had put the two precious black garbage bags out on the street with the rest of the trash the night before. They were gone. Gone forever. He was more upset than I was, for I took it as a sign. I felt that God was telling me that I was not teaching my children properly. The holiday was not all about the trappings, it was about His message. Actually, I felt rather foolish that I had needed this lesson.
Yes, the girls did get a surprise basket from the Easter bunny that year. A simple one. And nothing else. But along with it, they did hear about the reason for the holiday and the purpose of our celebration. Life lessons are happening all around us and to us all of the time, we just need to be receptive to their message. I am grateful that I was tuned into this one.