Saturday, April 11, 2009
My dad's oldest brother, Lawrence, was (and still is) my favorite uncle! And while growing up, I was never ashamed to admit that I was his favorite niece! :) Uncle Lawrence's job frequently took him out of the country to live in other parts of the world for months at a time. Even though he was gone quite a bit, there are still several fond memories I have of Uncle Lawrence and our time spent together...there were gifts from far off places, such as a silver coin never touched by human hands, bags of foreign money, opal necklaces, perfume from London, etc.
There are many other special memories I have, aside from the gifts he gave...I remember the first time I saw him cry on our way to my Uncle Arlie's funeral back in 1994 as he and I rode alone together in his car. There were George Strait concerts when my cousin worked for MCA records, dinners at Chili's, shopping trips to the Galleria...and there are many more that I don't have room for here.
His sense of humor is unlike any other I've ever known...once while our family was staying in a hotel when we were visiting my aunt and uncle out of town, he called my sister and me from the next room, while we were next door alone. He kept speaking to us in foreign languages, scaring us to death!! Once while eating out at a Mexican food restaurant, he and my dad got up and danced along with the waiters who were singing Happy Birthday to another customer...you just never knew quite what to expect! :)
But the memories that have burned themselves into my mind the most are simply of his presence in my life-especially at Easter! In our home, Easter wasn't Easter without Uncle Lawrence! It didn't matter if he was living in Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Liberia or New Orleans-year after year, he went out of his way (literally) to ensure that he was at home with us on that day.
On Easter morning, we would have to sit in my brother's room to keep us from peeking out the back door while Uncle Lawrence helped my parents hide the eggs. Then the hunt began...the most exciting part of it was trying to find the one "Prize egg" that Uncle Lawrence had stuffed money into, and we all wanted to be the first to find it! I would always wind up being disappointed and frustrated that I never once found the special "Prize egg" (somehow, my oldest brother, Clay, seemed to find it every year)! Like all kids do, there were times when one of us would continually pass up the obviously "hidden" egg lying in the grass. Uncle Lawrence would have to point us in the right direction in search of it. And if that didn't work, he would then take us by the hand and lead us to the right place (One of my favorite pictures is of Ericson holding his Easter basket when he was about 2 1/2 and Uncle Lawrence is there right beside him, bending over and pointing to an egg in my parent's front yard). Then when the hunt was over, my brothers, sister and I would sit on the back porch peeling and eating the boiled eggs, while opening the plastic ones and devouring the candy inside.
As much as I truly love my Uncle Lawrence, and as much as I know he loves me, my heart is troubled because he doesn't know the true meaning of Easter. He's never personally met the Jesus who went out of His way to point us and lead us to Heaven. Easter has always been my favorite holiday-mainly because of the special memories associated with it because of the close relationship I share with my uncle. But more importantly, it's about another close relationship I share...the relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ who willingly laid down his life for you and for me. Then three days later, rising again so that we might live forever with him. Unlike the "Prize egg" that my uncle would hide in the back yard, Jesus is not available only for the first lucky few who find Him. In John 3:16 it says, "...that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life."
Please don't let the real meaning of Easter pass you by this year! Ask God to soften your heart and open your eyes...to show you the miracle of Easter in fresh, new ways; ways you might never have seen before.
You might just be surprised at what you find!
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
I would also covet your prayers tomorrow...due to my Aunt Maria's cancer, this is the first year that my Uncle Lawrence won't be here to celebrate with me and my family!