An Easter Journey to the Gift of New Life
Patience. New, expectant, and veteran fathers are each quite aware of this virtue. We are gifted -- 9 or so months -- to watch, wait, listen as our wives and partners bodies’ change, develop, convulse, glow, and grow.
With both of my daughters, I remember the twilight times before bed, book in one hand reading mysteriously to my wife’s belly. A mystery of speaking and attempting to love something I had never seen or heard but I knew was there nonetheless. In both instances, my dreams were visited by images of my children. While not always accurate, some sense of mystery was able to deliver and meet a tangible image of what was to come.
Parents hope intently. They schedule as doctors’ visits shift from every month to every week. They relegate work, personal, and social tasks in preparation. They limit their spending -- fast on their needs in preparation for the needs of another, more vulnerable companion.
The time leading up to any child’s birth is truly a Lenten experience. In the light, these times are experience of deep patience and trust and hope for the future. When the shadow creeps in, we feel immense dread, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. Perhaps this is simply the nature of waiting.
There are deep similarities between “wombs” and “tombs.” In our Christian narrative, the tomb serves as a figurative and symbolic space to exasperate both human patience and trust as well as anxiety and fear. The Jewish prophets dreamed adamantly for generations of one who would come and not only destroy death but would also bring new life. Fathers and mothers timelessly toiled for societies based on right relationship for their children. They read of stories, told parables, and sang songs of a concrete mystery – one that was there but could not be seen or heard.
Easter is this mystery made manifest in Jesus Christ, resurrected, and emerging. Typically, as new parents meet their children for the first time they are stuck with awe. I continually asked my infant daughters, “are you real?” Jesus’s disciple’s touch His wounds, hear His voice, see Him when he calls their name.
Easter, like new children, is pure gift. None of us deserves it. We cannot work or strive, be “patient enough” or toil in any way. Instead, much like new parents, we accompany the mystery, watch it grow, and allow it to consume our lives. Allow this season, the Easter season, to be one of gift, to accept in humble joy this mystery made manifest. Allow your heart to be held like a new parent, or like a new child. Celebrate that new life is ever present and infinite in the mystery of Christ resurrected.
-Luke Lavin and his wife Amy (both class of '08) welcomed their second child, Johanna Grace on March 17th, 2019.