Easter During the Coronavirus: A Tale from 2020
On Easter Friday 2020, I was out shopping at Kroger to restock on necessities, and it occurred to me that it was Easter time. That thought was followed by the thought that some things about Easter 2020 were going to be very different from previous years.
Shopping at Kroger or Walmart or any of the other major grocery stores appeared to be one of the few normal things people were still doing around Easter 2020 as they went about life in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Even shopping, though, was a stark reminder of the situation that we were dealing with. I saw fewer people and less traffic than I would have expected during a season of celebration.
As I walked by the newspaper stand, I paused to get a glimpse of the headlines, hoping to see some happy news. Instead, they were all sad headlines and of course about the coronavirus and death. One depicted a lone crusader carrying a cross on the steps of a closed church in Jerusalem on Easter. I found myself looking forward to when those headlines would eventually have much better news like “Vaccine Created” or “No More COVID-19 Deaths” or “ Life Almost Back to Normal.”
I do not particularly like listening to the news or pay much attention to headlines, but it was prudent to be well-informed about how to best take care of yourself and stay safe during the crisis. I also found myself listening more and paying more attention to the media because I was looking forward to some good news. It had to come eventually. I even found myself looking forward to increased traffic on the roads, even if the practice of social distancing were to remain.
Easter items at Kroger were already marked down 20% and 50% before Easter had even arrived. I did not remember that happening before unless my memory was failing me. Walmart did not put Easter items on sale before the big day, but something all of the stores had in common was the change to their Easter store hours. The adjusted store hours varied, but they all closed earlier than normal and earlier than their coronavirus adjusted hours.
I expected the adjusted Easter hours were an opportunity for employees who were working during those hard times to be able to spend some more time with their families. It was clear that Easter 2020 was not going to be like any of its predecessors.
S.D Gordon said that “Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life." Sharon Gardner stated that "It is a time of renewal for each and every thing.” It is a time of hope, symbolic of second chances, and the beauty of new life.
Easter is the ambassador to a new season called spring. As I watched the trees regrowing their green leaves and the flowers blooming again, I saw in my mind a better future and the regrowth of the world from the devastation of the virus that had affected all of our daily lives in one way or another. I saw rain and I imagined that it was the universe sending water to wash away the virus. I saw the sunshine and I saw the brightness to life and I imagined that those, too, were signs of hope.
Life was not exactly as we knew it. Easter was not going to be exactly as we were accustomed to, but that didn't mean we weren't going to celebrate it, and it didn't mean that we would not continue not celebrate life, either. Where there is hope, there is a future, and there was no better time to be hopeful.
There were not any Easter gatherings as we were accustomed to. There were no church doors open to walk through to celebrate the day, but the gathering of minds and hearts did not necessarily need walls and chairs to celebrate Jesus, Easter, or life. The gathering of bodies is typical on holidays like Easter, but social distancing affected that reality. Social distancing did not, however, mean that minds and hearts couldn't reach out to comfort each other and to acknowledge the day known as Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter 2020 was symbolic of renewal and hope for a much better future.
There were no major Easter egg hunts for the children as there used to be, but that didn't mean that the joy of Easter was stolen from the children and families because of the virus. It didn't mean that children couldn't hunt for Easter eggs at home. It didn't mean that Easter didn't exist and that we couldn't pray at home or in virtual environments. It didn't mean that this was now how Easter was going to be every year. The next year, I thought, there would be more Easter egg hunts, and the next year, the churches would not be empty for Easter.
Indeed, it was a difficult, strange, turbulent, and tragic time, but I looked forward to us rising to thrive once again as a society. Victory never comes easy, but it comes easier with many minds wishing, hoping, and working towards the same goal.
Happy Easter. Always stay safe and always stay hopeful.