Throughout my years of wandering the hospital as an unknown IT guy, elders would strike up conversations. In nearly identical ways, each lived with loss and disability, yet they remain undefined by them. Almost to a person, they awoke each morning, serenaded the day, ate breakfast, and set out to seize the day or ‘get in trouble’ as one nurse phrased it. Sure, their knees hurt, and some couldn’t perform exercises like they used to. But, old age did not hit them suddenly. Instead, they got used to it, one day at a time. 

Olf was not a problem to be resolved. They neither complained old age snuck upon them nor did they demand some miracle medicine to push it away. ‘Old age’ was a stage of life like any other, one in which, for the most part, many wanted to remain making decisions about living. Others wanted to continue learning about themselves and the world. They did not require an Employee Assistance Program or in-depth mental counseling when others passed. Each elder was used to living. They suffered a fair share of pain, happiness, and a wealth of opportunity. “Been there; done that,” was a commonly stated. “Let’s continue to roll.”

In her novel As We Are Now, author May Sarton noted old age was not interesting until one got there. It’s a foreign country with an unknown language to the young and middle-aged. My 84-year-old mother, now one year past the death of her husband, still finds life interesting. “There’s still sewing that needs to be done,” or “I still have to read ‘such-and-such’ book.” Sometimes she’ll text, “You have to see this ‘documentary film’ or movie.’ I once had the chance to walk with her and a neighbor, both widows. “Got to get up and walk before it’s too hot,” they say. “Life’s a-wasting. Let’s get going.” At times, it isn’t easy to understand someone 22 years older. My mother’s experiences are substantially different. However, she can still find some level of meaning every day. And without a doubt, it’s the same message God wants us to understand. 

As Easter nears, God wants us to understand that we can learn the same lessons as our forefathers. We can wake every morning, breathe the morning, and find some inspiration. Whether physical or in spirit, the people we love before COVID still exist. All of us can discover thankfulness in our contribution 

But, of course, I understand it’s damn tricky some days. There are wars and politicians who’ve stolen. We’ve turned supporters against one another. It’s seemingly impossible to pick up a newspaper without reading about citizens assaulting citizens, airline personnel, and medical personnel. We’ve turned civil actions for perceived bias’ and open hatred. And we demand educators teach of a Jesus that does not exist (i.e., a God filled with petty grievances instead of love).

Easter Sunday is often associated with Resurrection, but the story is not just about Christ coming forth from a tomb. It is how miracles affect us today. We can receive grace, love, and be selfless if we choose. Despite what’s presented on television, generosity is present. If we decide, we can participate in a renewal of love for one another. And just as Jesus transformed his disciples, so too can we be transformed. Fear can be turned to grace, hatred to love, pettiness to forgiveness. We can work to change societal challenges and provide competent leadership for all, not solely for the rich.

Both Jesus and Buddha found something remarkable during their journeys: compassion and kindness. Jesus found others to assist Him in carrying the burden. Buddha, worn to a skeleton by fasting, was offered rice milk by a young girl. However, what Easter represents is that living in extremes is not required. Living a middle path (‘Middle Way’ in Buddhism) allows us to regain strength and find God’s steadfast love. Just as Jesus demonstrated His love by walking to the cross, we too can transform our lives by finding something to live for today.

Christ, Buddha, and our forefathers are finding something of value each and every day. All of them look to us to transform the world. None of them ask we propel the world to pettiness and fear. Rather, they ask us to embrace our ability to love, to find a common good, and to enhance the value of who we are. That my friends, is what Easter is all about.