I write this just a day before we begin the sacred Triduum–those three days before Easter Sunday when Christ suffered His passion and death. I can’t believe that this will be the first Easter in my entire life that I will not be with my parents and brothers and all of our extended family. Our fifty-some person guest list has been dwindled to just six–Ken and me, our three girls, and Ken’s mother across the street from us.
I’ve been crying a lot this week. I feel a bit lost. I don’t know what I would do without my Bible studies (which we continue online), daily Mass, the encouraging messages I am receiving through various email lists and YouTube channels, and the Zoom party my girlfriends and I had last night.
I miss my mom and dad. I miss hugging and sitting with my friends. I miss going to Mass with an excruciating longing.
I know that this, too, shall pass.
I know that next Easter, if it is God’s will, my entire family will celebrate together again. Everyone will be able to hug each other, shake hands, bring food to share, and sit at a table next to each other.
My nieces and nephews and cousins will hunt for those 500+ Easter eggs in our front yard. They won’t have to worry about who has touched the eggs or where the candy and treats came from. They will be able to run and play and be with each other again.
Anthony will be an official member of our family! We are all praying very hard that this September, we can watch Rebecca and Anthony recite their nuptial vows and then celebrate with our friends and family as planned. Rebecca and Anthony have several friends who have had to cancel their weddings. The ones who have decided to go ahead with a private ceremony have had trouble getting their marriage licenses. We pray that all young couples wishing to be married can find ways to make their special day happen however possible.
This time next year, Katie will be counting the days, not just the weeks or months, until her college graduation, and I will no longer be the mother of teenagers. I always wonder how time moves on so quickly. Even now, when the days seem to drag on into long, restless nights, it’s hard to believe that we’ve been hunkered down for over three weeks already. My girls are growing faster than I could ever imagine, and the passage of annual holidays always seems to emphasize that.
It feels like yesterday was the Good Friday we brought Morgan home, and this Good Friday, she turns 19. By next Easter, she will begin her third decade of Easter seasons. She’s gone from our “little hairy monster” as Katie designated her at birth to our beautiful, caring, nursing student, patiently watching all that is going on in healthcare today and wondering what things she will face when she dons her scrubs.
I’m confident that next year, we will look back on this time and wonder where the year went. For some, the memories will contain loss and feelings of desperation and anxiety. For some, loved ones may not be here to celebrate the holidays. For many, however, I believe next Easter will be a time of joy, a time of healing, a time of reflection about what we’ve learned, how we moved on, how we spend our time, and what our priorities are. I pray that this season, with its solitude and many quiet moments, will bring us all closer to God and that this closeness will remain with us throughout the year. Whether we are with loved ones or not, God is present. He died for us and rose from the dead. He heals, comforts, and loves us through all eternity.
I take comfort in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith in the resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life which is a part of the person is indeed answered. God exists: that is the real message of Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed.”
I will miss my family this year. I will miss the fun and the food and the festivities. I will miss what Easter typically is for us, but Easter will still come. Jesus still rose. He still heals. He still comforts. He still loves. Though the holiday will not be at all the same, the Easter morning sun will rise as the Son rose. We can still experience the joy of the resurrection, the awe of the empty tomb. Perhaps this time of fear and uncertainly was part of the plan. As Jesus told Cleopas and his companion on that first Easter as they walked to Emmaus, “Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26). Was it not necessary for us to suffer these things in order to enter into the glory of the resurrection?
Despite all that is going on in the world around us, let us emulate Saint John Paul the Great’s beautiful declaration,
“We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy is available as a complete set for your Kindle and is also available on audio!
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).