Is it really the Easter season? With the coronavirus pandemic gripping the world, it can feel a lot like we’re still stuck in Lent.
While we continue to face dangers and uncertainty, TJP also wants to offer a reminder that the signs of Easter are around us. For the rest of the Easter season, which runs until Pentecost on May 31st, we’re going to publish an article every Thursday sharing some “Signs of Easter” that point to life, hope, and positivity in our world today.
This week, I would like to offer you a story and a few joyful videos that are signs of Easter for me.
Going for a Walk
My typical life involves plenty of walking. I’m a grad student at Boston College, and I live less than a mile from where I take classes, so that’s a well-worn path in my life. I usually walk with purpose. There is a destination in mind and a fixed time that I need to arrive by. (Maybe that’s the German in me?)
Now I don’t have to walk anywhere. All my classes are online. But gosh that takes its toll – lots of time spent sitting in a chair staring at a screen. Zoom classes, reading PDFs, posting on discussion boards, and writing papers. What should I do to relax? Watch Netflix? FaceTime friends? You mean: stare at the screen more?
I do those things in moderation. And they are healthy. But another pleasant joy, an Easter discovery, has been the pleasure of going for a walk. It’s good for the body, but even more importantly, it’s good for the soul.
Of course, I take precautions like wearing a mask and maintaining distances. But I walk without a destination in mind, without a plan or agenda. I just “go for a walk.” It’s just its own thing. It doesn’t need to be anything more.
Even on my busiest days or the times when I’m most anxious, I force myself out of my chair and out of my house. Because that’s when I need it the most. To unplug, breathe deep, and collect myself.
A couple of days after Easter Sunday, I took a long walk. Just up the hill from my house is the local cemetery. I started up the hill and followed the sidewalk alongside it. I peered out over the tombstones, and then let my gaze slowly drift to the opposite side of the empty street. The embankment on the other side was bursting with color: purples, oranges, pinks, and yellows. The springtime flowers were in full bloom.
Reminders of death across from signs of new life.
My walk continued. A stiff early-spring wind blew into me, so I zipped up my jacket. As I turned onto BC’s campus, the bright afternoon sun shone out. I stopped and raised my face towards it, soaking in its warmth.
I reached a green space where a family of four had gathered. I paused to watch. Two young brothers, both under seven, were trying to get a kite to rise in the wind as their parents encouraged them. The kite would start to lift, then the boys would run towards it in hopeful excitement. But the string would go slack, and the kite would come crashing to the ground. Undeterred, they would try again. I smiled at their relentless enthusiasm.
After a few failed attempts, they decided to try something new. When the kite began to rise, they ran away from it. The wind began to pull the kite up as the string held tight in their hands. Higher and higher, it rose.
My eyes widened in amazement. Had I stumbled upon an Easter metaphor on my walk?
When we face a strong wind, our first instinct is to turn our back to it and run with it behind us. But if we tighten our grip, face the wind, and walk headfirst into it…only then will the kite rise.
To accompany this Easter story, I would like to offer three music videos of Easter joy:
1.) Andrea Bocelli: Music for Hope– Live from the Duomo in Milan
If you haven’t listened to this yet, stop what you are doing and listen. This remarkable Italian tenor makes two appearances on my list. This video was recorded on Easter Sunday in the empty Duomo Cathedral in Milan. Both the visuals and the voice are simply stunning.
2.) “The Prayer”– Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Lady Gaga, Lang Lang, and John Legend
Bocelli and Celine Dion were nominated for an Oscar in 1999 for their duet “The Prayer” for the animated film Quest for Camelot. In this version, they are joined (virtually) by the Chinese pianist Lang Lang, along with pop singers Lady Gaga and John Legend. This is one performance out of many from the Global Citizen event “One World: Together At Home,” arranged to help raise funds to combat coronavirus. Peruse the full selection of videos here.
3.) “Hallelujah Chorus” from College Church in Wheaton
This evangelical church in the Chicago area got its parishioners involved (from a distance) in creating a delightful video of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. It’s just plain fun. Smile and enjoy!
Stay tuned next week for more “Signs of Easter” from The Jesuit Post.