The birds are chirping, the flowers are starting to pop up (be it in the ground or in your local garden shop), and the kids are hunting for brightly colored eggs.
Why do we go on Easter egg hunts? I think the short answer is that it’s fun. You could look a little further online and find that the eggs have a bit more meaning, but I’m still going back to my original answer as to why the tradition continues. Kids run around with baskets (because it’s cute, right?) snatching eggs that are filled with candy or are hard boiled and soon to be smelly. Having a kid old enough now to participate means enjoying this odd tradition all over again. You know what? He loves it (and so do I).
He has no idea what’s inside or why he should gather eggs. In fact, just this morning he saw a packet of plastic eggs I got for later this weekend and was so excited about it that I “hid” six empty ones around the living room for him to scout out right away. The process of seeking and discovery is worthwhile to him. He finds excitement in merely looking for what is waiting for him to find.
As he matures, it will be about both the search and the takeaway. Right now he’s just learning to seek and discover and that is enough. But later he will be more excited because he will expect something inside those eggs like candy or prizes. (Back in my egg hunting days, the single golden egg on the neighborhood hunt held an entire one dollar bill, which was basically the ultimate achievement for a kid.) No longer will empty eggs around the house be satisfying or enjoyable. He’ll want more. He will want something that fills him (with sugar) or provides him more activity or enjoyment beyond the search itself. Therefore the search will need to be more challenging and the stakes higher. I’ll probably give less hints, and perhaps we’ll both get frustrated when an egg or two completely alludes us, causing us to spend extra time foraging for an overlooked egg.
I can’t help but wonder if there are Easter egg hunts all around us, and we simply stopped noticing. Not that I think life is just one big game all about collecting quantity and mass. No, more so I’m talking about collecting wisdom and grace. Also on the list: patience, joy, thankfulness, understanding, and love…among many others.
Like the eggs, we can’t possibly collect it all in one year or season. When we’re young we need guidance on where to look and the support to help gather it. Along the way, those helping us in that process may both enjoy the hunt and also receive some of the benefits. As we grow and mature we realize it’s more than simply seeking wisdom and grace, but also receiving its contents and hopefully, applying it to our lives so that it lasts longer than the search itself.
Where there was once a youthful excitement sparked by the discovery, maybe we’ve come to hesitate when considering the effort required to continue to seek and find such things. Sometimes it doesn’t come as easily or isn’t right in front of us like it used to be. We have to tediously rummage around and sometimes look like an idiot in the process as we make mistakes and fail amidst the search. Or, we once we finally gather that wisdom and grace, we hide it away instead of absorbing it and sharing it, hoarding it in the back of our closest long enough to become a like bunch of rotten candy or smelly eggs.
Through it all, I still think it’s worth it to pursue this grown-up Easter egg hunt. It’s more of a challenge and we expect more for our efforts than we did as kids, but we wouldn’t be satisfied with it all being within arms reach or if all we found was a bunch of empty eggs. So this spring, this Easter, I’m hoping to both continue to seek and discover, but also to receive and apply the depth found inside.