Another 55 degree day, and the snow that fell two days ago is relegated to a little pile here and there – the sidewalks and the streets all give the evidence that Spring is pushing its way forward into our lives, and I for one welcome the change. Tell the winter wonderland to go sit on the shelf for the next 8 months, if possible.
I think I have mentioned before that around our house, we like to decorate with the changing of the holidays: of course, Christmas, but also a bit of Halloween and Thanksgiving, and even some St. Patrick’s Day. One of the fun times is to add to the clutter in the home for Easter. Over the years, we have found all sorts of silly looking rabbits and chickens and ducks – and even a frog or cat or bear wearing bunny ears, just to prop up and around mainly the living room to bring a bit of whimsy and smiles.
Something we have also had fun in doing – and maybe I shouldn’t share this, for fear that you all might think we are a little more than a little “off” – is that we have taken to naming the little stuffed animal characters that we spread around the room. Along with that, we have created some stories surrounding their personalities that we have invented, and so there are some continual reports of different escapades that the not-real animals enter into. I’ve thought we should really write some children’s books about the characters, and record in writing some of the things we imagine they get into.
More than a decade ago, while shopping at some store, we found a pair of about a foot tall egg-shaped, super soft ducks, of multi color with a little tuft of hair on the tops of their heads, and duck bills that are perpetually open. We named them Sissy and Sassy. Again, they are just cute little creatures, but in our imagination, they have become very successful recording stars, who sing in a very interesting harmony, and who are always getting into snags, due to their “forward” personalities. In our minds, they never stop talking/quacking, which makes some of the other stuff animals – in our minds – go a little crazy. They have big ideas for Easter extravaganza shows, but it never seems to work out in the end, due to costume issues, or music or just no one else wanting to go along with it.
Another characters is a totally round, yellow, probably foot and a half diameter “duck” that we named Walter. Walter is continually trying to impress everyone with his talent and his size, especially all the little girl characters. He is of course very sweet, and not very smart, but he does take up room with a significant impressive shadow.
There are loads of others that we have found over the years. Whenever we make a purchase, we have to then spend some time finding the very right name, and personality and then we begin to weave the tales of their “lives” that come awake at Easter time. I will admit that it’s a silly pastime, but imagine the stories we will be able to tell to our grandchildren when that day ever arrives, of these little Easter stuffed animals and their escapades!
I love imagination – getting caught up with and carried away with those flights of fantasy. I’m not talking about lies – I just mean the effort of trying to expand your own nearly unlimited creativity into an inanimate object, and bring it alive and find the turmoil, the fun, the laughter and the quirky situations that they then need to find their way out of. It’s like most any silly story. For me, it is a welcome distraction and vacation from the doldrums and uneventful part of living these days. We have built so many parts to the stories, and the characters, that when it’s time to put them away, it almost feels like we are putting away some old friends, at least until next year.
Of course, I know that Easter is far more profound than rabbits and chicks and ducks and so on – I claim that story as the truth of promise of resurrection for my own life. There is nothing make believe in my heart about the mystery and wonder of a rolled-away stone, an empty tomb, and the appearance of a loved Lord and Christ, bringing the promise true that indeed, we will live in eternal hope and life simply because God has willed it to be so, and we have trusted it is so.
But we can still have fun with Sissy and Sassy. After I write this column, it’ll be time to open up the bins and welcome our dear friends for the visit for a few weeks. I do hope that somewhere in your own life, you will find, or have already found things that bring a silly joy, a love-ly story, or just fun, especially as we witness the world starting to open up – a bit, in this ongoing time of challenge and need.
Blessings – and it you listen very carefully, you may hear the sound of a strangely harmonized song…
Word for the day: lautitious. Pronounced lao-TISH-ee-us. Of course, it sounds very Latin, and its root is lautus, or lavere, which simply means “to wash, or to have been washed.” As you add layers of meaning over that simple one, however, it grows in its depth. No more only “to wash,” but by the time it reaches our word today, it means, “sumptuous, elegance, splendor.” How did it get there? Well, we can guess that way back in time, the effort to actually take an entire bath, instead of just washing feet and hands, and maybe the back of the neck, was indeed a sumptuous event, or an elegant action. Pretty soon, we drop the whole washing idea away, and use the word itself to mean anything we see that looks rich or delicious or elegant.
If you feel like it, take a lautitious nap today – or maybe even a lautitious bath!
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.