Easter. My favorite day of the year. Every year.
Of course, the best part of the day is celebrating the resurrection of my Savior. That alone puts a smile on my face, not just on Easter, but every day. With the assurance of my eternal life, every day here on earth is one I can enjoy no matter how good or bad.
Yesterday was just about perfect except for the Yankees dropping the season opener to the hated Red Sox in Boston. But, the season is long and the Yankees will be fine.
Our day began with a wonderful sunrise service at St. John’s. Pastor Lange delivered a fabulous sermon, almost personalized for every member and guest. Sitting in St. John’s, as I have done for so many years of my life, remains renewing thanks to the Word and wonderful memories that come flooding back. It is easy to think of my father and his many wondrous sermons proclaiming the joy that comes with Christ’s victory over sin for my sake and the sake of all that believe.
Yet, as I sat there holding Laura’a hand with my daughters beside us, I always feel that my mother is sitting right there with us. What a comfort. As we sat down to our post-service breakfast, both Julie and Kelly recounted with delight the stories of hunting for the plastic Easter eggs their grandmother had carefully hidden all over the house. Each was filled with a quarter and some candy. And, sadly, they also recounted how as Alzheimer’s Disease began to eat away at my mother’s wonderful mind, she no longer could remember where she had hidden all the eggs. Typical of my daughters, though, they actually found that the discovery of an egg hidden in a couch or cabinet months after Easter was even more fun. Their compassion for the sad fate of their grandmother remains one of their greatest gifts in life to me. God bless them.
Easter is a time for family. I might shed a few tears during the Sunday service, but they are tears of joy for all the wonders provided me by my Savior and my fabulous parents who helped center me in Christ. While I have my own family now, both mom and dad are always with me, especially on Easter.
Late in the day, as Laura and I rode together south out of Topeka, we saw families sitting on porches or in front of their garages, just enjoying the day. Cars lined graveled drive ways as we got into the country. Families were playing games, tossing baseballs, playing fetch with their dogs and generally enjoying the warm but blustery day. One little girl, dressed as a pretty princess, waved her magic wand at me as I rode back into town. Yesterday was, in reality, the first day of spring, and how I enjoyed seeing so many outside enjoying Easter Sunday with their families.
After church, we also had the pleasure of watching my favorite cyclist win my favorite race. With some advice from Topeka cycling great Steve Tilford, we watched a live stream in Slavic with an English language race report in another window of Fabian Cancellara winning the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, the Tour of Flanders in Belgium. We enjoyed the Slavic broadcast and didn’t need English language at all to watch in awe as Tom Boonen, another favorite, and Cancellara rode away from the lead pack and totally dominated the great race’s celebrated climbs and vicious sections of narrow cobble-stone roads that left many riders walking their bikes. Then on the Muur (the Wall) where Laura and I had watched the race in 2007, Cancellara easily pedaled away from a cramping Boonen and rode in alone for a great, great victory.
With full stomachs from breakfast and after long talks with both the girls, we settled in for much needed naps. Late in evening, we watched the enjoyable movie Up in the Air with the Yankee game running on computer beside us. We also caught bits of the women’s Final Four. Laura’s Sooners fought hard but came up short against Stanford. With the entire three-point arc area painted in brilliant red, I could hear the photographers’ cries of agony all the way from San Antonio. The color balance had to be brutal, and there was absolutely no help from the court reflecting light up into faces. Brilliant move NCAA.
Between the nap and the movie, Laura and I rode together for 22 miles, and then I rode alone for another 20 miles. With the winds blowing quite hard out of the West with strong gusts, the ride was a test of will. However, while riding back east at speeds in the mid 30s, I couldn’t help but think this is how it must feel for someone like Fabian Cancellara when he’s riding INTO THE WIND.
Another great Easter. God bless you all.