Thinking about Easter brings to mind loss, hope, resurrection, sunshine, courting birds, greening yards, bunnies, colored eggs, and lilies. Yes, lilies. Each year, members of our church celebrate the lives of loved ones who’ve passed on with a parade of towering white Easter blooms. I love to walk into the sanctuary that first Sunday the white blossoms outline our altar. My nose picks up their sweet scent, and I think about how the first historical evidence of this flower was imprinted on a Cretan vase over 2500 years ago.
Just seeing the ladder of leaves that lead to the balloon-like blooms shouts Easter to me. When the florist wraps deep purple foil around the pot and ties on a fluffy, white bow, I’m transported across time to my first memories of this special holiday. I think of lacy dresses, shiny white patent leather shoes, basket- shaped little bonnets that I only wore one time a year. I recall soaring hymns like “The Old Rugged Cross,” “He’s Alive,” and “ In the Garden.” I can almost feel the warmth of my mom’s or grandma’s bodies as I recall times I stood singing those songs next to these much loved women. My mouth waters at the recollection of ham dinners followed by homemade chocolate and lemon meringue pies.
Now, those trumpet-shaped flowers are reminders of too many loved ones who’ve wrapped up their business on earth. Despite this overpowering sense of loss, I’m glad that our church family shares these recollections of good times and happy hearts. Here’s the dilemma. After Easter each year, each of us is supposed to take our plant home.
That’s good for a week or two. Often times, ours is still blooming so we enjoy setting it in the window. Once the flowers dry up and fall off, it’s time to make some decisions. In our case, that means it goes to the lily bed out back.
The woman who lived here before us started the tradition with a leftover Easter bloom. Since we moved in, the plot has grown. Right now, it’s manageable and hasn’t taken over the rose garden. Looking ahead, I see issues.
Lilies spread, and if I keep adding to this bed each year, I’m going to end up with a yard full of plants that bloom only once a year. Granted, they are lovely at that moment, and the scent is heavenly, but afterwards, they are leggy, green plants.
I guess I need to keep in mind these are symbols of the resurrection, and they’re easy to grow. I can’t say that about everything in my yard. Once established, they bloom later than the ones we place on the altar at church so I get to enjoy them a second time each season. One article I read suggested tossing them on the compost heap. It’s hard to do that when these will thrive, and I’ll enjoy even more fond memories of a favorite holiday.