So maybe you’ve heard that I’m a brand new grandfather. Two weeks ago our daughter gave birth to her first child and Mary Ward and I received our first grandchild. Starting about a month before that, very nearly every person I bumped into or met with commented about the upcoming birth with giddiness. “When is that baby due?” “Are you going to be there?” “Is it a boy or a girl?” “Grandchildren are the best!” “You just won’t believe what that baby is going to do to you!” “It’s everything you’ve ever heard of and more!” Even had I wanted to approach that birth as something ordinary, the sheer joy of others would not have allowed me to. Like parents watching their children get all excited about Christmas, I fed on the anticipation and the event was even more meaningful because of those expressions from loving friends.
A few days after returning from the birth event, I walked into a dinner party and was met by a fellow grandfather who asked, “Well, how was it?” I beamed and he immediately recounted the birth of his first grandchild: “All four of us parents were standing in the hallway outside the room and when we heard that first cry, we all just burst into tears.” My own experience of those early moments after the birth wasn’t dissimilar to the feelings I had when our children were born, though somehow even richer. When I walked into the room and was introduced to Mary Durham by my daughter, things got slower and deeper. As I picked her up out of her mother’s arms, things inside me seemed to be reset. Whatever else I was carrying around with me evaporated and this moment took all my attention. Everything else – the various joys and sorrows, victories and failures, annoyances and frustrations – all got realigned in a different perspective.
It’s not the first time I’ve felt that reset button get pushed in my life. There have been lots of other times and, no doubt, there will be many more. A crisp, cool spring morning with azaleas popping into full bloom might reset our hearts. A friend pointing a finger at us and saying, “I love you”, might do it. Watching the great effort an elderly person expends doing something I do quickly and easily might wake me up. Watching dozens of little children pile into church with mite boxes on Easter morning changes my heart. We might have a relationship rekindled by a brand new touch. We might just hear something startling about the love of God and really believe it. Sometimes there are harder things that make us see what’s most important. We might suffer a great loss of a loved one. We might see that our marriage has died and we need to do something different. We might see the inequality of life and be energized to treat people differently.
Easter is a reset button. Everything that went on before is put in a very different perspective. The things I have been hanging onto fall away. The burdens piled up on me are gone. Something pours into my heart and I am ready to start over with new excitement, new love, new trust. The light turns out to be stronger than the darkness. The things I thought had power over me suddenly don’t. Love breaks in and makes all things new.
It’s pretty hard to reset our own hearts so God does it for us. God becomes one of us, goes through our pain and suffering, and shows himself to be the light that cannot be overtaken. When we get little glimpses of that, we see everything in that new light. We are being made new by the power of the resurrection. Christ is risen! Go with it.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.
Events Around the Corner
Heavenly Host Covered Dish Supper – April 10 at the Mathews’
Youth Sunday and Picnic – April 15
Daughters of the King Spring Assembly – April 21 at Holy Spirit, Alabaster
Holy Cross Low Country Broil – April 22, 4:00-7:00 pm
Young Adults Retreat at McDowell – April 27-29
Bishop’s Visit and Confirmation – May 6 at 10:30 am
Episcopal Church Women Picnic – May 7
Vacation Bible School – June 4-7 at Ascension
Honduras Medical Mission Trip – July 21-28