My Great-Grandmother Steele grew up and raised her family on a farm in West Texas. As a child I always loved going out to her farm and wandering through her magnificent garden that seemed to grow every type of vegetable known to man. She had this wall that surrounded the front yard that was about five feet tall that all the grandkids used to balance and walk on back and forth. This wall separated the home front from the pasture and the farmland where livestock and crops were raised. Around the wall were flowerbeds that had brilliantly colored flowers that seemed always to be in bloom.
The reason I share this story of my Great-Grandmother Steele and how it relates to Easter is because of what she always said on the Friday of Easter weekend. “Good Friday is a good Friday to plant.” Every year our family planted spring flowers as part of the Easter weekend celebration because Great- Grandmother Steele seemed to think “Good Friday was a good Friday to plant.” It must have been because her flowers always were the most beautiful around each and every year.
As I think about her wisdom, I am reminded of the rich symbolism that comes from all those flowers that have bloomed over all those Easter weekends and throughout the springs that followed. A bed of dirt that was cold and lifeless from the wintry season has thawed and become a home for something new. The colors of the flowers and greenery of the plants seemed to exclaim that what once was dead and empty now teemed with full and vibrant life that stood at attention to all who took time to notice. Not only has springtime come to the flowerbeds, but also there has entered a springtime for the soul. That is what the word “Lent” literally means: springtime for the soul. Lent is the season of seven weeks leading to Easter weekend that followers of Jesus have used since the fourth century to prepare the soil of their hearts for a thawing and an awakening of new spiritual life. This season culminates with resurrection Sunday when the colors seem brighter and the news of fresh hope beyond suffering and death breaks through.
Yes, we also spent many hours dying Easter eggs and enjoying wonderful times with family around some incredible meals of Easter celebration. My family always enjoyed going to church together on Easter Sunday to remember and celebrate the death, burial and glorious resurrection of Jesus. We still do! But I cannot look at spring flowers and not think of my Great-Grandmother Steele. She always loved beautiful flowers. And as we head toward another Easter weekend I know one thing about Good Friday. It will be another good Friday to plant. And it will mean so much to me all over again.