The Miracle of Easter

Easter was never as magical as it was when I celebrated with Irene. I had never seen anything like it. The lamb would be roasting. There would be enough spanakopita lovingly prepared by Irene’s mother for a contented stomach ache. There was dancing and even an egg hunt. And it was a week later than my celebration, because Irene is Greek Orthodox.

Just as my spanakopita stomach ache started, Irene’s father appeared with his egg. He would smile slyly and challenge anyone and everyone in a traditional game of tsougrisma. There is a trick to this game that I never mastered. You are supposed to hold your egg in a certain way so that when someone (like Irene’s father) tapped your egg, it would not crack. I tried every angle imaginable to hold this egg in my fist while I waited for my opponent to tap the tip of the egg. My egg would always crack. And Irene’s father was usually responsible.

There was one year that I survived two rounds of this game before Irene cracked my egg. Alas, I still could not figure out the trick to this game. I figured it took years of practice to which I was always going to be at a disadvantage. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling. In fact, I think it is a feeling that most of us wrestle with. When there are so many terrible things going on in the world, we feel that we cannot do enough. We can’t pray enough. We feel that somehow we have been left at some disadvantage.

It was not until my second or third Greek Orthodox Easter that I realized that Irene’s father cheated. He always won because his egg was marble. Or wood. Some thing stronger than my plain old hard boiled egg. But, Easter isn’t about strength. Certainly Mary had to be strong when the other disciples questioned her and Thomas had to find his own strength, but this is not the miracle. The broken egg shell in my hand reminded me that we are all a little broken. We can all be beaten up by a stronger egg, whether it is your best friend's father or a news item on TV. But, resurrection happens in our practice. It happens in our laughter, even when we lose. It happens in that strange transformation where disciples gather to remember unexplainable events.

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