Yesterday- Easter Sunday- I awoke to the sounds of "The Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah" coming from my clock radio. Our local NPR station was airing the complete Messiah and I had the good fortune to waken to this sublime music...waken to sunshine...to blooming azaleas...to a glorious day! Could Easter morning have been any more perfect?
Worship at our dear little church outside Lexington, NC, included a procession to the graveyard next to the church, where we sang and prayed together before returning to the sanctuary for the rest of the service. And though I personally have no one in that lovely old resting place, I could see on the faces of many present that they were remembering those loved and lost...for this time, at least.
And then, in the middle of the night- quite literally, the middle!- I received a phone call from my Rwandan "grandson", Emmanuel, the incredibly bright young boy I am trying to help with school fees so he can remain in school, since his sister and brother-in-law, both teachers at a primary school, don't make enough money to support themselves and their son, as well as Emmanuel, PLUS play for his schooling and their own on-going studies at university in order to keep their teaching certificates current. It was about 6:30a.m. in Rwanda and the family was up and getting ready to head out to their respective schools, and they wanted to thank me for sending the school fees for the new term.
Amazing, isn't it, how much we take for granted in this "land of the free and home of the brave"? Free public education through high school for everyone...everyone! What a hope and promise that is for our young people, for our nation. And yet so many fail to take advantage of the opportunity offered, instead complaining and goofing off and generally spitting in the eye of those who attempt to teach, to impart knowledge, to open the doors of the mind, to stimulate curiosity and creativity.
Emmanuel rides almost 2 hours to his school each day...the food there is very sparse and he usually arrives home late and hungry, with hours of schoolwork ahead of him each evening. And yet, he does it gladly, determined to finish secondary school and eventually, go to university. He sees a whole world of opportunity spread before him if he can only get an education, and so he works hard and calls this white-haired grandmother with joy in his voice to say "thank you so much" for his school fees for another term.
Guess I've gone far afield from the beauty and promise of Easter, and yet, perhaps not. New life, resurrection, is all around us, all the time, if we just take the opportunity to open our eyes to see. Whether it is the new life which emerges with the blossoms each spring or the new life which education promises, it takes eyes to see and a mind to comprehend and a heart to appreciate. Both the opening and closing of my Easter Sunday reminded me of that...the hope and promise of new life. Alleluia!