Have you ever caught a whiff of a familiar smell and just been overtaken by emotion? That happened to me yesterday at Safeway. I walked by an Easter Lily and the smell of it…well, I’m embarrassed to say that the smell of it made me want to stop in the middle of the aisle between the tangerines and chocolate bunnies, lean over my cart and cry. So silly. But really, so great. Here’s my story:
My mom – the most lovely and gracious woman on the planet – loves Easter more than anything. We always had a big lily in our house from the very first moment they were available in stores. Lilies are an odd sort of flower, but beautiful in a strange-yet-stately kind of way. And the aroma that fills the room is absolutely outrageous.
I loved to sit by the lily and talk with my mom and she would tell me how much she loved Easter and loved the resurrection and it didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time, but I knew whatever she said was important. And we would prepare food and special dresses and all the Easter accouterments, but we usually would NOT prepare Easter baskets.
My mom has a thing about bunnies and eggs.
She never expressed hatred for them, but she would offer regular – yet gentle – reservations. “Easter is just too important to be about bunnies,” she would say as she cooked or cleaned or sewed my dress. Her statement was never filled with anger at secular society, but rather a palpable reverence toward the work of the cross. And in these moments, my little subconscious gathered together the smell of the lilies and the food, the warmth of my home, the love in my mom’s heart for me and for the risen Jesus, and it created an indelible image in my head and on my heart. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for this rich and wonderful heritage where the sacred stayed sacred. And that’s why the smell of Easter Lilies makes me cry.
So yesterday I was talking to my daughter and she said, “I remember when I was little and you used to say, ‘I love Easter – I just love the resurrection!’ and I didn’t really get it then, but today I realized that I totally feel the same way. I LOVE the resurrection!”
Generations of women, hunched over their carts, crying by the Lilies? That’s an Easter miracle.
(I love you, Mom!)