There are a minimum of 28 days that are universally accepted as “special days” in the United States each year. From New Year’s Day to Christmas, there is something happening in every month except August. For whatever reason, August gets labeled as the “Dog Days of August”.
Add to these 28 birthdays and anniversaries, and the 365 day year that begins every January 1 is filled with fun and interesting things to look forward to all year long.
There are different kinds of anniversaries: the date you met your significant other, wedding anniversaries, the date you got your dog or cat or goldfish, the year you bought your house, when you started a job, and so many more. You name it and you can have an anniversary for it, from the first pop top can to a last cigarette, and sadly, since the death of a loved one.
And nothing is more final than the last time you saw a person alive, and the immediate creation of an unwanted anniversary in your life as in “it is the 10th anniversary of Dad’s death”. For some, that final day to be remembered was as simple as “have a good day at school” and the punch in the gut when told of the school shooting, and that your child would never come home again. For others, the last breath was a whispered “I love you” from a hospital bed followed immediately by the coldness of death as it pushed your loved one’s soul from their body.
So, where is this article going because I do not like where it is right now? One thousand nine hundred and eighty two years ago began an anniversary that changed the world for all of us. That was the year that Jesus as man left the world, body and spirit, and gave us all a chance to have hope in our lives. On April 5th, we celebrate the anniversary of the first Easter Sunday. It is this day that is celebrated by Christians as the day that heaven’s gates were once again open for believers.
Somewhere along the lines, the beauty and importance of the moment got tangled up with bunnies and chocolate and Easter eggs, which are fun, but it is not the reason that Easter shows up on the secular calendar as one of the 28 recognized holidays in this country. The sacrifice made on the preceding Friday of that first Easter, on the cross, was the day that all was forgiven. That was the day that God accepted all of humanity back to His loving embrace.
Hope is the one thing that we need as humans. Take away hope and all is lost. Think of times in your own life where you felt hopeless, and you will instantly recall the relief you felt when the outcome of the event gave life once again…hope that there will be good days ahead. I remember one of my worst moments in my earlier years. I was a very good athlete heading to being possibly great when I broke a wrist in football. I wanted to play basketball so I did not tell the coach until after basketball season and by then the split bone was so damaged that my “skilled position” sports (football, basketball, baseball) career was over. That was a devastating thing to hear as a young teen.
However two years later and two years of wearing a cast broadened my outlook. My grades dramatically improved, my interests spread out in all directions, my social skills were improved and I saw hope in the bigger picture of life versus the microscopic view of throwing a ball. The blessing was that I discovered parts of life that would maybe never have been learned had sports been my only area of focus. Perhaps there was Divine Intervention at the time meant to dash a hope of being a star that would more than likely never come to fruition to being a well-rounded person able to find doors leading to real-life solutions to problems instead of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Superman is fiction…just as my view of Super Dan.
God had other plans, and He guided me to a life that has been full of faith in the unknown and the ability to trust in someone bigger than my own ego…Jesus. So, I am sure to eat my share of chocolate on Easter, but my heart is filled with appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice made by the man on the cross so many years ago. But in time as defined by eternity, a blink of an eye and here we are thankful for the anniversary of Easter, and faith that God has not forgotten little old me and guess what, He has not forgotten you either.
Happy Easter to all and I pray you will find your hope in the giver of all hope.
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