I remember it well for I was 15 years old, my beloved girls were talking about it and our whole church was decorating for it! Easter Sunday in Christianity is like a bomb going off in pastel colors and buckets full of lilies!
I remember it well this plan to have a sun rise service of worship starting at 7am instead of the usual 10am for my high school classroom. Since my mother knew how much I wanted to go she sent my father to take me, while she stay home with my baby brother and the other siblings until the usual 11am celebration of Easter. I asked my mom "Why can't I get a ride with Tiffany? She is going AND she is driving now....Then Dad can stay home too." My Mom frowned "No, It's dangerous to be in a car with a new driver, you can't ride with Tiffany until she has been driving for at least 2 years." I groaned over how OLD I would be by then and I worried over having to sit next to my father in public since his mood swings were so unpredictable I worried a lot back then.
7am we were the first 2 people sitting out in the wide open flied behind our church, for we had helped the youth pastor set up the cold metal fold up chairs and waited. I was in my new floral print dress with a lacy petticoat underneath feeling so excited to see my friends soon!
I had been arguing with my mother all winter long over wanting to wear my new white dress shoes, the ones I had bought back in the fall on sale with a tiny heel to them. For I was a REAL teenager now wearing adult like looking shoes! But my mother forbid me to ever leave with them on because they were white and the color white isn't worn until Easter Sunday......I guess everyone but ME thought that. I argued "Why is that? Who said? It's cold and gray and dark all the time in winter so why not brighten up the season wearing new white shoes?" My Mom would causally be breast feeding whenever I caught her attention so she never had much interest in explaining things to me for very long and now that I was 15 years old I would hear her said "Stop TRYING to be difficult just because you think you should, you think that is what teenagers DO." I sarcastically reply "I just want to know WHY we do what we do....if you want a real teenager to challenge you just go talk to DANA." She would chuckle and shake her head as if I was being cute while tossing the fat baby into my arms and getting ready for church herself. I knew my mother was scared of everything back then, especially having 2 head strong girls who were nothing alike, not ever.
The 7am turned into 7:30am as people started showing up my father mumbled towards me "Why say 7am if no one will show up? THESE are YOUR friends remember that." I nodded trying to ignore him without pissing him off. I hugged the girls all dressed in floral new dresses and bright white shoes too. Tiffany had REAL heels just like her mother always wore and I admired them so much of course! We sat there in a row of four, for our Sunday school class room was nicely connected and intimate like this, I felt so safe, so happy and so loved by those girls in those very really years of womanhood.
We sat facing the west so that the morning sunlight would not blind us as we sang and study the bible passage of Jesus rising from the dead. By the end of that day we would cover such a story over and over again until we had it memorized. My beloved friends parents sat all around us, yet it was that moment in prayer we four girls locked arms and hands in 4 different spring dresses and in four different colored sweaters welcoming in Easter Sunday!
I sat between my father and my theatrical friend Tiffany while Rebekah leaned in on her other side and Jennifer jumped up to play her violin. I remember that day most of all because of the chilly cold and wet grass as the rays of sunshine shot through east warming us all up slowly. Tiffany gasped in after Jennifer's music ended "This is the most beautiful morning of my life! Jesus has risen just like this sunlight! We have hope again!" she grabbed my arm closer to her as I smiled back whispering "And I LIVE for such hope as that everyday!" The girls all laughed together as they leaned into each other while my father just rolled his eyes and I knew it was a magical morning to never forget!
Tiffany sat across from me at the restraunt 20 years later saying "Where did we LIVE that everything was so magical back then? I feel like it's so hard to find now that kind of wonder in the world." I chuckled nodding back explaining "WE chose to see the wonder and awe of God for ourselves, we didn't have a choice so we made the best of it together, WE were beloved girlfriends and supported each other fully......yet as things changed as we grew up WE still carried the fire and wonder inside of us. God may or may not be, but WE were REAL and our friendship was REAL at least to me....." Tiffany cried leaning into me "How did I keep such a good friend as you all these years?" I chuckled back handing her my napkin feeling so reflective by her side again "Because WE chose to stay close, we are never in control of the world but we are in control of who we trust and love, I would of been a very jaded teenager if you hadn't been in my life full of imagination and magic!" Tiff laughed out loud now wiping her eyes exclaiming "Well then, Here's to having Hope again in our lives!"