by Candace Arthuria Williams
Yesterday, there was a bright green plastic bag sticking out of my mailbox. Naturally, I opened it with caution. It is sad that we are living in a time when packages are eyed with suspicion, and surprises are as welcome as the treacherous Trojan horse. I hoped a little TLC might defuse whatever was inside. As I peered through the cellophane wrap with the pretty pink bow, there was a wicker tray with assorted cookies of various shapes and sizes. On top was a floral envelope daintily displaying an array of spring colors. The card was as bright and beautiful. What a wonderful Easter gift from my neighbor, Joan.
When I was young, all church-going girls got new outfits—dresses in the colors of Joan’s cookies, Easter bonnets, and patent leather shoes with matching bags. I was oblivious to the fact that others were too poor to afford these things. We dyed and decorated hard-boiled eggs, although I didn’t quite understand why. It is only in my maturity that I have come to question these traditions. How many times did I stay up past midnight watching The Ten Commandments? Given my Christian background, somebody might have told me that despite the cinematic splendor, that movie is not about Easter. It commemorates the Jewish Passover and exodus from Egypt. Why do we follow Hollywood dictums like mindless sheep without any capacity for discernment? There is but one Sacrificial Lamb who willingly went to the slaughter that those who believe would receive eternal life. That is the ultimate gift. His victory over the grave is the reason we celebrate Easter, or Resurrection Sunday, as it has come to be known today.
I called Joan to say “thank you” and express my very best wishes that her family would enjoy a happy Passover. Maybe she’ll watch the movie, which I will catch at some other time. So what should command our attention—The Red Sea or The Cross? I like to think that it’s both. Surely the day is coming when differences cease to exist. That spirit is captured succinctly in the refrain of a timeless hymn, We Will Understand It Better By and By.
In the meantime, I will borrow from Dickens’ Tiny Tim. I know. Wrong holiday. Wrong season. But just the same, an imperfect, disabled boy found the faith to articulate a universal prayer. “God bless us every one.”
Candace Arthuria Williams began her career in Corporate Communications and currently writes short fiction, essays, and poetry. Her work is multi-cultural, inter-generational, and expands across a broad range of genres. During the pandemic, Candace completed a diverse collection entitled “Very Short Stories for Very Busy People.” Her objective is to capture readers’ imaginations without consuming too much of their time. She has published with the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Teaneck Public Library Archives, Friday Flash Fiction, Agape Review, and has work forthcoming in Calliope.