Goosebumps rise on my skin as I open the creaky old door from the house to the sun-drenched porch. A blast of arctic air sends a message that winter is fighting hard not to let go, not to lose control to spring. The two have been fighting it out for a couple of weeks now. Soon, hopefully, spring will win, and then before long spring will lose to summer.
A brilliant green layer of pollen covers the long boards on the porch and the old wicker chairs are spray-painted with this evil dust, which I brush away before I sit. Achoo!
Today, much of the world celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, whom Christians believe died, was buried, and returned to life three days later. Happy Easter. Last year at this time, we spoke about personal resurrection.
Memories of Easter flood my brain. I remember my crafter mom spending weeks before Easter covering her shoes with different fabrics so she would have “new” shoes for the holiday. She would also make a new Easter hat. We always dressed up for church, me in my bright red sport coat, with my 007 Secret Agent cap gun shoulder holster under my jacket. One of our grandparents would always make a feast centered around a giant chunk of meat. Coloring eggs was always fun, as was hunting for our Easter baskets. Our triplets are 17 and still love the tradition. Maybe we’ll hide them in their cars this year.
Easter signals a new season.
Spring is new birth, new life, new growth.
Summer is full, rich life.
Fall is aging.
Winter is death.
Each brings us a reminder to embrace them for what they are.
The longer I live, the wiser I tell myself I become, and I realize that the biggest hindrance to a rich, fully lived life is a focus on self.
In the season of spring, we’re full of energy, life, and self-confidence. A little cocky. When summer hits, success breeds more arrogance and belief in ourselves. We start to believe our own press.
Fall brings falling leaves, sagging midsections, backaches, often other health issues, and the unwanted realization that we’re not in control at all. We start facing the reality that once winter hits, we’d better have finished everything we wanted to get done. Suddenly it becomes evident that our cockiness, our arrogance, our over-inflated self-confidence never served us all that well and we need to focus on what’s truly worth the time we have remaining.
The reality is that we never had control, we just thought we did. And when we’re focused entirely on self, we miss the importance of reliance on the grand plan for our lives, and the joy that comes from serving others and serving our Master.
This isn’t a suggestion to give up positive thinking or to age out before your time, or to give in or give up, but I’m starting to understand that loss of self is where we begin to focus on what is intended for us, which is where the rich treasure lies. It too is a form of resurrection because when the “focus on self” dies, the true self is revealed.
PS: I have to admit that I’m pretty excited about getting to San Francisco for our big event next week. For me it’s like Thanksgiving with my plein air painter family. I’m truly looking forward to seeing everyone out there. If you want to watch the noise, you can follow me on Instagram @ericrhoads or Facebook @ericrhoads. (Facebook puts a limit on friends that I can’t change, but you can still follow my feeds.)
Eric, so good to read these Sunday coffees. We’ve just moved to our new home in Arizona.
It’s everything we prayed for, ranch with rolling hills, lots of acreage half mile off the road and all the amenities of the word pictures you write about yours.
Being an artist and teacher I find this very rewarding and allowing me to paint more and more. The house allows me to have a studio again and invite friends out for plein air.
Thankyou for sharing your faith your creativity and your friendship. Hope we will meet someday at an outing, I’d like that, we sound a lot alike.
May the Peace and Promise of the Resurrection of Christ fill your day and your life for ever!
My heart will be with all of you in San Francisco this year. Hope all that attend will be as Blessed as I was last year in Santa Fe. The convention last year changed my life and art direction in a very positive way. Thanks to all of you!
Hopefully this year will be financially as positive for me because I really want to return to the convention next year without it being a hardship! So encouraging to know you and all your staff are out there sharing a hope for a brighter future through the world of Art! When I am working hard and struggling to do my best it is so refreshing to know all of you are out there for us!
Thank God that we have the opportunity to live for heaven, for others, and to have the gift of another day in which we can strive to be the very best version of ourselves. To be given a second chance, and a third and a fourth…Christ is the giver of hope, of the future, and is the evidence that everything can be better than it’s ever been…
And I appreciate your role Eric, in bringing that hope of a better future, an improved mindset, and opportunities for self-development that will aid painters in giving of their best self to others who will see their work, learn from them, and be inspired to be grateful to have the capacity to create. The Plein Air Convention in San Francisco will be a hub for a community of hope and practical approaches for artistic, emotional, technical and even spiritual development. So many will go home being transformed.
Bless you this Easter, Eric, for your efforts, and that of your staff, and this expression of hope and faith in a better future, that we call “Art.”
Happy Easter Eric and co…. each morning we rise to another day and know that there is something out there that needs our attention… either cleaning the art room or finishing that yellow building that I started yesterday….. but its also the people God gave and put in our path …precious easter eggs ….
Your sunday writings are just that…. thank you …
oh How I wish I could attend the conference… i have been to two and so filled with the art energy but
I will be there in spirit… make it one of the best ever…. new and old artists need to hear and experience the thrill and obligation of the artist…… we must paint what we see (100 yrs it might not be there) and we are
driven to teach others how to save and share our lands beauty…. feeling blessed on easter morning… sc
Well said. Happy Easter, Eric.
I quote my aged friend, Helga Tesdorf “When you become part of something that is so much bigger than yourself, it creates its own magic.”
Thank you for this beautiful and insightful word, Eric! Happy Easter! He is risen!