Taking time off around Easter is new for me. I usually take vacation time around Christmas and in the summer to do some traveling and family visits. This past year was different; there was no traveling or family visits. I figured taking a view days after Easter would give me some much need respite from work and hopefully some reasonable weather, which is not always guaranteed during spring in the Pacific Northwest.
I also figured some down time would allow me to begin to live into Eastertide after what feels like a year of Lent. While I proclaimed with a mighty voice, “The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!” at our virtual service this past weekend, my transition from Lent to the hope of the resurrected Christ seems to be moving at a slower pace than the liturgical calendar.
So, this past Monday, I set out with a free day and no plan. I am not sure I went out looking for the resurrected Christ in my day, but glimpses of that new hope and creation were everywhere.
My day started with a morning walk around an urban lake. As I walked, cherry blossoms (or what I call cherry blossoms) were out in fullness with a variety of shades of pink. Daffodils and tulips were in bloom at the base of trees lining the walking path. It was quiet and the lake was as smooth as glass, creating a perfect reflective mirror for the sunshine to dance on. New hope; new creation.
Then a text from a beloved friend, letting me know that he had a surprise Easter basket for me. It was a simple gesture filled with candies from childhood memories, a few colored hardboiled eggs and some other fun odds and ends. This thoughtful Easter basket caused my heart to leap for joy. The last time I got an Easter basket was from my mom, the year she passed away. New hope; new joys.
My afternoon concluded with a nature walk to a beach. I sat in the sand, leaning up against driftwood as ducks, seagulls and a seal pup greeted me at the shore. I sat in the sun and basked in the sun’s warmth as time and boats crept by.
On my return walk back to my car, I came upon a family with two children. The parents were trying unsuccessfully to wrangle their children to maintain the proper social distancing as I approached. I paused and stepped off the trail, motioning for them to come through given that they had their hands full with the children. One parent looked at me with eyes of gratitude, fatigue and stress and said, “Thank you”. I replied, “No problem; enjoy your walk”. We continued on in our respective directions.
Suddenly, I heard pattering footsteps of a running child coming from behind, and the young boy from the family I just passed was by my side. I stopped and he said, “Hi”. I returned the greeting. He continued, saying, “You’re really nice for letting us pass before you”. Before I could respond, he was off like a flash, running back to his parents, briefly looking back and waving at me, saying, “Bye”. My act was such a small gesture, almost the pandemic norm in giving space to those around you. It meant enough to this little traveler to share a word of gratitude with me on the path. New hope; new kindness.
New creation, new joys, new kindness, and new hope. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Karla Koon is a Worship Leader and Eucharistic Minister at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle. When not serving at church or working as the Director of HR Operations and Administration for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington (Catholic Charities), you can find Karla, reading, quilting, golfing, hiking, kayaking, and (safely) gathering with friends and family.