I am eating a bowl of granola and dried blueberries at the kitchen table when my girl sits down in the chair across from me.  She chats about the Easter Bunny, asking if she can bring her basket to Mamaw and Papaw’s after church on Sunday.  Calculating the number of days before Easter, my girl ponders why there is no school on Friday.  I explain that Christians often attend church services on Good Friday because that is the day that Jesus was hung on the cross.  How did they put Jesus on the cross?  My girl asks this question somewhat matter-of-factly Nails were driven through Jesus’ hands and feet.  I answer her quietly.  What did they do with Jesus’ body after he died?  They put him in a tomb, a cave where a huge boulder blocked the entrance.  Is he still there?  I smile at this gift.  The opportunity to tell my girl, one more time, the real meaning of Easter.  That heavy boulder which sealed the cave’s entrance?  It was found three days later, rolled away from that dark cavern, revealing only the cloths which once wrapped Jesus’ broken body.  Jesus rose from the dead!

My girl then returns to her original question.  The one about Good Friday.  Why can’t we talk about the real meaning of the Easter egg at school?  Because not everyone believes the same thing as we do.  What are you called if you are not a Christian, if you don’t believe in Jesus?  Well, some people are Jewish.  They believe in God, but they don’t believe that Jesus was His son.  And, some people just don’t believe in God or Jesus.  They are atheists.  Satisfied, my girl grabs her ukulele and belts out an original song.  “I believe in Jesus!” she sings right there in the middle of the kitchen.  The lyrics are simple and repetitive.  I hear my boy’s small voice join-in from the next room where he is drawing.  Does my guitar sound good, Mommy?  Like the guy who plays at church?  Wanting either a bigger audience or a bigger stage, I’m not sure which, my girl moves her performance onto the front porch where she strums her ukulele and sings right up until my boy’s yellow school bus rounds the corner.

I watch her from the door and I think about this art of being present.  How I might have missed-out on this conversation with my girl if I had been rushing about my morning duties, as I have been accustomed.   Towards the end of this season of Lent, I made a decision to practice the art of being present for my family and for God each morning.  For me, this means not checking e-mail until my boy and girl are off to school, I have journaled, quieted my mind, and spent time in prayer.  Now sometimes, like today for instance, the journaling and meditation don’t happen until later in the afternoon, but this routine is one I now strive to carry-out whenever possible.  When I connect with my family and with God each morning, I ground myself before the day gets underway and takes me along with it.  The result?  I arrive at the end, more often than not, content and fulfilled.  In learning to be present, I am better able to show love to my family, to myself, and to those I encounter throughout the day.  And love?  Isn’t that the real meaning of Easter?