If you’re the Easter Bunny, some years you just have to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Some Aprils, you have to deal with blizzards – and, thus, snow bunnies in Vermont. Sometimes in March, you find nothing but dust bunnies under the beds when you’re hiding the eggs. No matter what, you always have to be quick like a bunny. And you have to distribute all those baskets and all those eggs without anyone ever seeing hide nor (forgive me) hare of you.
And then, I imagine, there are the houses with cats and dogs and. . .chefs. We have six felines in our home, and most of them are scaredy cats. Most of them are utterly terrified of our neighbors’ chickens. Or, they are such lazy and inept hunters that they couldn’t catch a mouse in a lobster pot. But not all. Our cat Funny Face is eighteen pounds of muscle and claw, and while he has a sweet disposition, his strong suit is not judgment: I’d hate to see him wake up in the middle of the night when the Easter Bunny is in our kitchen. It wouldn’t be pretty. We’re talking hasenpfeffer.
My point? It’s not easy to be the Easter Bunny. It is probably easier than being Santa Claus, since the loads are smaller. Most of the time, you only bring what will fit in a basket. But you also do the work without elves and reindeer. I’ve never imagined that the Easter Bunny has anywhere near the backend operation that Santa Claus has.
One year when our daughter was still in elementary school, my family spent an Easter on Grand Cayman. Later, she admitted to her mother and me that she had been worried the Easter Bunny wouldn’t know where she was, and she’d wake up on Sunday morning without a basket. But then she said reminded herself that he’d never let her down yet. It was all about faith.
And, indeed, the Easter Bunny found her. Sure, an investigative journalist might have noted that the basket had been filled at least in part from the hotel gift shop. But the Bunny delivered.
I asked her the other day for some of her favorite Easter memories, and they included that moment on Grand Cayman, when she awoke and saw an Easter Basket on the floor of the hotel room. But they also included looking for Easter eggs at her godparents’ home around the corner from us here in Lincoln, and how their older son – a boy in her grade – always looked so uncharacteristically dressed up in his blazers and bowties. Her favorite memories also included the dresses she would wear to church those Easter mornings, and the bonnets her mother found for her some of the years. And while our church doesn’t hold Sunday school on Easter itself, her memories included the different Sunday school teachers she had over the years, and the way she learned the miracle of the Easter story itself – the bedrock of our own family’s faith.
Easter is like that: A combination of secular and the spiritual implausibilities. A miraculous bunny. An inexplicable resurrection. It is, like all religions, about faith. And one thing I believe for sure is this: The world is a better place when it is rich in faith, and – to paraphrase Corinthians – when together we abide in love.
It may be harder sometimes to have faith when you are fifty years old than when you are five. The implausibilities are a little more glaring. Sometimes the Easter Bunny doesn’t find the little girl. Some dark nights the tectonic plates beneath us (and inside us) shift. Some bleak days we are painfully aware of how little we can ever control or how little we can really heal or how little we can actually accomplish. But as C. S. Lewis, wrote, “Faith. . .is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” The truth is, the sun really does rise. . .always. Especially today.
Happy Easter. Happy Passover. Peace.
(This column appeared originally in the Burlington Free Press on April 20, 2014. The paperback of Chris’s most recent novel, “The Light in the Ruins,” goes on sale on Tuesday.)