This is the first year in a while that we dyed eggs for Easter. I have either forgotten to buy eggs, boil eggs, or buy dye for the last several years, and we’ve suffered through the holiday by merely binging on peanut butter and chocolate eggs for breakfast. (sigh) My beautiful grandma is in her eighties, and she told me the other night that she had dyed eggs every Easter until just a few years ago, all by herself, just because she loves to. When I grow up I hope to be like her.
We went au naturel this time and had bowls of eggs all over the counter soaking in hot water and vinegar mixed with coffee grounds, red cabbage, tomato paste, crushed blueberries, beets, turmeric, turmeric with paprika, turmeric with tea. Lots of turmeric. White eggs go in, colored eggs come out. That’s the plan.
We found that some colors dye quicker. Turmeric, for example, is so effective that it will not only dye eggs, but also the surrounding counter and anything else it touches, and beets will dye your fingers fuchsia the moment you start to peel them. Nice.
Others take a long time to soak in and make a change. And as they dry, sometimes the color changes. They go in white, come out red,and change to green as they oxidize…or come out light blue, and darken to a beautiful turquoise.
Some of the eggs we soaked in one color and re-soaked in another. The colors are deep and the patterns are intricate, unknown galaxies.
And some just don’t change at all. Apparently tomato paste won’t dye diddly, and the eggs come out for a rinse, unchanged after hours except for a nasty film that is scrubbed off, only to take another bath in a different color.
But usually, the egg goes in and comes out changed.
We do, too. We dye, or die, often. How many times do you feel like you’ve been buried over the past year?
We go through something that changes us, and walk through pain that alters our perspective. We experience something huge – for better or worse – and are washed into something that doesn’t change who we are, but how we look at things. Our essence and identity are still the same – the egg is still an egg – but we know ourselves better because of it.
Sometimes the change is fast, and other times it is a slow process as we heal and make sense of things. Sometimes we go through a series of dunkings that leave us wishing we could hold someone else under the water for a change, just long enough to make them uncomfortable.
No? Maybe it’s just me.
Every time we go through a life-changing event, our colors deepen, we mature, and the baptism makes us more…us.
We’re us, concentrated. Stronger.
- to unify, converge, focus;
- to intensify or make more pure
- to separate so as to improve the quality of the valuable portion
Even knowing this, it is still an awful, awe-full feeling to know that someone you love is about to walk through a pain that they have no idea is coming. You know it will make them stronger, but you also know that the strength is birthed through anguish.
To deliver an announcement that will bring pain. To bear news that will bring heartache. To know from experience the natural outcome or consequences of a choice that a loved one is just starting to step into themselves, for better or worse.
(But this calls for a warning: those who flaunt their ego with a cursing, know-it-all, just-you-wait, it-only-gets-worse attitude leave nothing but a nasty film on those who are hurting. We must lead loved ones with maturity and grace.)
During the week leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus knew His disciples were going to misunderstand it entirely. Before this Sunday I never realized that they would also misunderstand His words, “It is finished.” He knew they would dye, and die, as they walked through pain and terror for two days, soaking in hot, vinegary water. He knew what was coming for Himself and still had deep empathy for His friends, who would not realize that the third day would bring resolution and answers. Color. They went in weak and scared, and came out fearless, bold, ready to die for truth – and the world was changed.
The eggs go in, white. Beautiful and uniform, but all pretty much the same.
They all get buried…bathed…baptized…in a new color. No one would ever describe them as “common” again.
He knew the joy that was coming for them. He knew they would be stronger.
The white egg is only prologue. Life happens and we soak in the dye as we die to self, sometimes again and again and again. You are the valuable portion being set apart, made more pure. And suddenly, there is…revelation. Joy and life. Color and complexity.
And we are us, concentrated.