And that’s only a slight ‘eggsaggeration’; it was Easter, after all
My husband started it. He pulled Adira aside Saturday morning and walked her around the yard.
“Here,” he said, opening the fuel door on the side of my car, “the Easter Bunny likes to hide his eggs in places like this.”
He pointed to the top of my tire, too. Then the three-year-old and her grandpa walked hand in hand around the bushes and philodendrons bordering the house, the monkey grass and jasmine lining the circular drive, the beds of roses and gardenias.
He waved his hand to indicate what the “Easter Bunny” might think a good place to leave a plastic egg filled with candy.
“I want to give her a head start,” he had explained to my daughter and me, “level the playing field a bit.”
Adira would be competing with her 1 1/2-year-old cousin and her 6-year-old brother for the 120+ Easter eggs her Uncle Adam and I had carefully stuffed the weekend before.
How well we remembered the tearful egg hunts he, our youngest child, experienced at the hands of his older siblings. A competitive spirit and a dose of healthy teasing by the older ones tormented the younger and put a damper on our egg hunts. Damp with tears, I mean.
Toward an ‘eggwitable’ hunt
This year would be different! My grandchildren would have a more equitable Easter egg hunt. Though I had ruminated on how that might occur. What would be a more equitable system for the hunt? I hadn’t landed on a palatable solution.
Assign each child an egg color? A specific section of the yard? Give the younger children a head start?
Some eggs had jelly beans, some gummy bunnies, some Sourpatch bunnies, some Smarties. (It was too warm to put chocolate in the eggs.)
“Make sure you distribute them evenly!” I said to Adam as he grabbed the box and two bags of eggs, divided according to what was inside them. I didn’t want a child to only get one type of candy. Equity in candy distribution and egg distribution at the end of the hunt. That was my goal.
In addition, Steve had taken the candy out of three eggs and inserted money. His intention was that each child would get one of those.
Equity. My Webster’s New College Dictionary on my bookshelf simply defines it as “the quality, state, or ideal of being just, fair, and impartial.” In our world today, equity has a political vibe — where government agencies offer an unfair advantage to some and disadvantage to others in hopes that the ultimate outcome would be equity.
This is what our “more equitable egg hunt” would become, actually. Unfair advantages and disadvantages. And all of us became those governing agents.
‘Eggsecuting’ the egg hunt
First, the hiders of the eggs — my sons and my husband. While Steve was careful to hide his eggs in places he’d pointed out to Adira, my boys made full use of the wooded acre to make the egg hunt challenging enough for Niko and easy enough for Adira and Harrison. (My son Ben liked to make his eggs particularly difficult to find and reach.)
When the hour of the hunt arrived, the youngest egg hunter was sound asleep. He wasn’t feeling well, so we let sleeping egg hunters lie. That meant Adira and Niko were destined for a lot of candy.
“Wait!” my husband said before the eager hunters could start loading their buckets. “First, the rules! If you see someone reaching for an egg, do not jump in front of them and take it for yourself.
“Be kind! That’s it!”
The two took off in different directions. My sons guided Niko to the more challenging egg hunt in the back yard. My husband accompanied Adira to the front yard, reminding her of the training she’d received the day before.
“Slow down,” he instructed. “Look high. Look low.”
Adira loaded her basket, finding those eggs her grandpa highlighted and more. Lots more.
“Look down,” he would say. “Uh, uh, uh. Slower. There!”
Every once in a while, Steve would tell the rest of us that he was going to stop helping because he didn’t want Adira to get all the eggs. But he couldn’t seem to stop himself. At a certain point, he realized this hunt was getting a bit one-sided.
“You better get Niko up front now,” he said, spying Adira’s plentiful bucket.
“Niko!” called his mother. “Come up front now!”
He came, his bucket less full than Adira’s. Niko found eggs near the front door and then reached for a bright pink one resting on top of a holly bush.
“Why would anyone hide an egg in the prickly bush?” my grandson asked after he grabbed it.
“Ben!” I said. Of course.
As Niko passed by the planter in the front yard, his Uncle Stephen started his own coaching.
“Oh, I see a bunch of eggs,” he said, smiling.
As Niko slowed to pick up an egg or two, Stephen would prompt him to find more.
“I still see some.
“Oops! I see more.”
Meanwhile, Adira was rushing to and fro, saying, “Oh, man!” each time she found another egg.
Toward an ‘eggsellent’ outcome
“She doesn’t need any help finding things,” her father told us (too late). “She’s going to kick Niko’s butt on this hunt.”
But all of us were in action now, each pointing or calling out “higher” or “lower” or “you missed it” to whichever child was near. Or simply standing beside an egg and doing a little John Travolta “Saturday Night Fever” dance move to point to it without saying a word.
And we’d laugh at our antics.
Finally, the two siblings, buckets nearly full, started hunting together. Adira kindly pointed out eggs to Niko so he could add them to his collection. When his rushed movements caused eggs to fall out of his bucket, Adira helped pick them up and put them back.
Ultimately, kindness, rather than the “equity” of unfair advantages and disadvantages, ruled the egg hunt. Both children — guided by people who loved them — ended up with a bucket full of eggs. It was a kind and gentler egg hunt. Not a single tear was shed.
(And we snagged a few plastic eggs — including one with money — to give the sleeping Harrison after his nap.)
‘Eggstrapolating’ a spiritual lesson
As I reflected on the hunt, which has long been an Easter tradition for our family, I realized how our desire for a more equitable egg hunt — however we reached that result — is much like God’s desired final result for us: His salvation.
We watched and waited (and coached) as the two children searched for eggs. We wanted them to find every single one. Likewise, God “is patient with [us], not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, NIV).
(Repentence means we recognize we are sinners, ask God for forgiveness, and repent or turn away from our sin. It is the first step to salvation. We also must believe and confess that Jesus is the Son of God, who died to pay for our sins and was raised from the dead — which is why we celebrate Easter.)
Some of us find His salvation because God’s provided advantages (blessings or a Christian heritage) that point the way (Adira’s egg hunt experience).
Some of us find it because we’ve suffered disadvantages (challenges, difficulties) that bring us to the end of ourselves and show us our need for a Savior (more like Niko’s hunt). Our desperation finds its way to salvation in Jesus Christ.
Some of us are asleep to it all but awaken at the very end and embrace the gift of salvation (like poor Harrison, who missed the hunt but got his bucket with some eggs). My brother Scott experienced this gift of salvation. I tell his story here.
God’s kindness leads us to repentence (Romans 2:4), much as our kindness to the egg hunters (and then their kindness toward each other) led them to the eggs.
We had aimed for a more equitable egg hunt. We achieved kindness.
I hope you experience His kindness too, my friend.
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