Easter, though it didn’t stack up very well to Christmas, had its own kind of magic when I was a child. Easter eggs and the bunny brought their own surprises. I know I grew to love them more as they transitioned from painted to plastic–filled with assorted confections and chocolates and money. As a parent that joy turned to Easter afternoon egg hunts and photographs of our little ones in colorful outfits. As I look back now from the empty nest, those years were full of life.
Easter eggs are a longtime symbol for life—waiting for just the right time to spring. ‘Tis the season for new beginnings, new growth. The miracle is that it comes whatever the stage of life.
The older I get the more I appreciate such—the more I depend on the renewal of life. Enthusiasm for the things of God companies spiritual springtime. Desire for more of God breaks forth in beautiful ways all along life’s hunt. Be it summer, autumn or the winter of life—Easter comes in the nick of time.
If I may—here’s a new practice I’ve discovered. It’s not a new one by any means, but I’ve just happened upon it. It’s known by many as “the examen.” Don’t let the name intimidate you.
Through the years people have discovered direction for their lives, as we know, through prayer and reflection. One particular practice is known as the “examination of consciousness.” The examen, as its called, provides a way of noticing where God shows up in our lives on a daily basis. It’s a practice that attends to what we might otherwise miss. This spiritual conversation opens us up to how God is moving in our story, our comings and goings.
It’s nothing more than a basket of questions, designed to help us listen to the data of our lives. They help us pay attention to things that bring us death and life. Once known, they become part of our ongoing journey with God and others. They open us up to what God is saying to us through the stuff of everyday life.
Questions like—for what today am I most grateful? Least grateful? When did I give and receive love today? What gave me life today? Stole life from me? When did I feel most connected to God? To others? Such conversation with God invites attention to the lows and highs of life. Perspective and direction for the future happen through listening to where and how God shows up in your day. Such awareness puts you in touch with the kind of person God created you to be.
You can make your own list. They are as numerous as a field full of Easter eggs—each one specially marked just for you.