Perhaps it is because winter this year was a doozy.
After the first major snowstorm, the kids ran outside and began working on their annual igloo. Many hours later, 10-year-old Grace looked out the window to admire the handiwork.
“OK, spring can come now,” she said.
Oh boy, this winter was going to be long.
The snow continued to fall and the driveway apron continued to narrow. One day while backing out, we gracefully lodged the minivan into a snow bank.
Neighbors drove by and politely waved on their way to the grocery store. I pushed, pulled, rocked and prayed. Twenty minutes later, those same neighbors returned from the store and waved politely a second time.
I troubleshot the situation. Where were the flares? Why not just abandon the van until spring? Perhaps we could sled around for the remainder of the season. The orange sled could seat six if everyone squeezed in.
But alas, it wasn’t meant to be – we freed the van.
After many, many more frigid days, Easter was just around the corner. One week we were treated to temperatures in the 50s. The snow in the empty lots around our house quickly melted. The sun shined on the surrounding seas of ice water. Teresa informed me over the phone that 5-year-old John went outside wearing swimming trunks, goggles and a snorkel.
There wasn’t really much to worry about, besides such trivial things as frostbite and hypothermia. “It’s a little too cold yet to go swimming,” she pleaded.
He remained undeterred, snorkel dangling in the arctic air. So, she let him go for it, the first Pirillo Polar Plunge. He made it to the edge, before immediately high tailing it back.
“You’re right, mom.”
John, get used to those words.
Despite the travails of a particularly frigid winter, we’ve made it to Easter. It feels pretty good. The buds are sprouting, the grass is turning green and the songbirds are flying. Abigail, age 1, walked on the ground for the first time recently, stepping cautiously on a strange new land.
But we’re also reminded that the drama of salvation history isn’t over. Pope Francis’ Easter homily was replete with prayers for those in need all across the world.
God answered the problem of evil by sending his Son to die for our sins. It’s Easter and the entire church celebrates the risen Christ, his victory over death.
But there’s more. He allows us, as the catechism teaches, to participate in the Paschal Mystery by picking up our own crosses and following him. This type of life would be an impossibility if not for his grace, mercy, and continual presence in the church and in the Eucharist.
What does such a well-lived life look like? We were fortunate enough to catch a glimpse this past Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, when we witnessed the canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. Salvation history may not be over, but we sure know how it’s going to end. And that feels pretty good.
(Joe is married to Teresa. They have four children and run a joyful home in Plymouth. Opportunities for heavenly inspired humor abound. Joe, a librarian and Teresa, a physical therapist, are parishioners at St. John the Baptist Parish, Plymouth.)