Faithful Living: Embrace Easter’s power of life

For to take Him seriously was to enter upon a strange and alarming life,

to control instincts and impulses,

to essay an incredible happiness.

Is it any wonder that to this day this Galilean is too much for our small hearts?

— H.G. Wells

The Outline of History

All I have to do is make kiss noises, and my rag tag clutch of baby zebra finches wake from their warm familial huddle to stretch upward and engage my heart with bright eyes and fluttering wings.

OK. I admit it. I’m drawn to babies of all types. I’m even known to make an annual pilgrimage to the local farmer’s supply store when I see the “Chicks are here!” notice written on the reader board out front. I can even convince my very cool teenagers to accompany me.

One year my bird-loving daughter caught me at a weak moment after I had sat down beside the heated tub containing scores of baby ducks for some minutes, to pet their softly downed heads and be entertained by their awkwardness and energy. That year she had whipped out her babysitting money and claimed Dad had said it was about time our pond had a duck or two.

All I could do was smile, for it was just the kind of permission I needed at the time to push my own logic right over the top. Before I knew what had possessed me, I was checking out little bills and inquiring which breeds they might bring our family the most pleasure.

In minutes I was reaching down into that warmed bin to count out five terrified babies and nestle them down into a cardboard box filled with wood shavings. I was buying all-purpose poultry mash, stroking little wings to offer some comfort and wondering how our golden retriever might react to their chatter.

In a matter of a week, as I recall it, our five ducklings had doubled in size, taken over the kids’ bathtub and brought spring into our lives. I was the first to admit I knew little about raising ducks, but I did learn that year how well they buffered those things that grieved and troubled this mother’s heart — situations at that time that involved the Serb atrocities committed against women, children and the elderly in Kosovo.

That was six years ago and this Easter week it has been the utter tragedy faced by the Schiavo family that has brought repeated tears to my eyes, an ache to my soul, and again reminded me that there will never be a peace-filled world for my children to live in. There has been not one interview, online commentary, web log or conversation among collegues and friends that has made the complexity of this family’s fight to reconnect their grown daughter’s feeding tube any easier to sort out. In sheer desperation I have turned to the sweetness around me … the baby finches, the longer days, the mild afternoons and the joy of Easter to soothe and balance the sorrow.

It is during moments like this that God reminds me to place heart and soul, faith and energy into my sphere of influence — doing all I know to create a happy home for my family and give life and breath to faithful living as I know it.

All the rest I will hand over to God.

That is a challenging task for me, the consensus builder — the one who likes to figure it all out, fix the ills of the world, gather everyone onto the same team.

I get this way most every Easter, when the wonder of the story of Christ living, then dying, then coming back to life seems far too much for me to take in. The enormous scope of the gift feels overwhelming and strangely paralyzing. Can I really align myself with such a story? a small voice asks.

Each Easter God reminds me all over again of the wondrous life He offers me. And each year I am awed by the kind of alarming joy that comes from baby animals as well as choosing a faith, developing a God-filled life and looking for a daily interaction with Him. It is a life fashioned by the commitment to live in this world but to battle against being transformed by the death, war, injustice, poverty, ignorance, selfishness and bitterness of it all.

It’s God’s gift to you as well: Himself, forgiveness, life beyond the struggle here.

Happy Easter!

Freelance writer Joan Bay Klope’s e-mail address is

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