Personal Writing

Embrace Easter: Find Resurrection in Personal Renewal

I love Easter.

It was always my favorite Sunday in the Bowman, ND Methodist church, the church we most often were at when I was little because my grandparents and other relatives lived there.

Multiple pots of lilies filling the front, their powerful smell permeating all the way to the back of the small sanctuary. The baskets of multi-colored hard boiled eggs laid out in the middle of the long rows of tables in the basement where we gathered after church for coffee and treats. The flannel boards in the Sunday school rooms where paper doll Roman soldiers would fall asleep and the stone would roll away to reveal an empty tomb. The hymns, “Christ, the Lord is Risen Today,” “Up From the Grave He Arose,” “Crown Him With Many Crowns” and the like. The new dresses and sometimes even bonnets. It was all so glorious.

Then home to Grandma and Grandad’s house to find the hidden eggs we had colored the day before. My Easter basket overflowing with Russell Stover decorated eggs, plastic Easter grass and other treats.

My grandma’s glorious, light as air Hot Cross Buns, the frosted crosses melting slowly on the warm-from-the-oven buns.

I’m almost ashamed to admit that my only real panic during the very early months of COVID was when I realized, a few days before Easter weekend, that I had no yeast in the house. You may recall that the nation went on a bread-baking bender and there was no yeast to be bought anywhere. Three friends answered my plea for a “yeast for Hot Cross Buns swap,” and I was able to make them. I remember feeling like Easter simply couldn’t happen if I couldn’t make those buns.

But if you didn’t grow up with the Christian resurrection story, or you don’t subscribe to it anymore, what’s the purpose of Easter besides an excuse to eat too many treats in the name of an egg-hiding rabbit?

One site I found said, “Our English word Easter possibly descends from the name of a pagan goddess. It is also quite possible that Easter evolved from Germanic words meaning dawn, east, and sunrise: words that may have had their own roots in the Old German word for resurrection.”

A pagan goddess. Dawn. East. Sunrise.

First of all, I like that the word for one of the most sacred days of the year, according to the very patriarchal Christian doctrine, might be descended from a goddess, from a woman.

It is, after all, woman who is singularly responsible for the act of birth, for bringing forth new life.

Consider how feminine the sunrise is. The colors, pale pink, yellow, orange, purple and blue slowly emerge and birth the glorious orb that appears as if from nowhere. Where there was dark, there is now light. When the sun breaks the horizon line, it’s as if the entire Earth takes a collective inhale and light and life begins again.



Its Latin root, surgere, means “to rise.”

I’m not here to debate the resurrection of a crucified man who claimed to be the Son of God. If you’ve been reading my work for a long time, you know I have a complex and storied relationship with organized religion and even with my own understanding of spirituality.

So I’m not sharing my personal views on this aspect from the life of Jesus Christ. This isn’t about that.

Rather, I’m asking you to consider where you might experience an Easter of your own making. Where can you bring to resurrection something that’s been absent in your own life?

Perhaps it’s a relationship you’d like to repair, a healthy habit to adopt, a new way of speaking to yourself that wraps you up in the warm, welcoming colors of sunrise versus the accusatory light of midday, the bold, aggressive colors of sunset or the dark, menacing blackness of night.

Spring. Easter. Longer days. Empty tombs. Warm, languid sunshine. Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.

Regardless how or if you celebrate this weekend’s Christian Easter holiday, take time to consider what you’d like to resurrect in your own life. What could you renew from your past to bring about new hope and healing? What powerful surge of contractions and focused energy could you channel to give birth to something more?

As with so many of the most powerful moments in the Bible, the first Easter was both Earth shattering and as gentle as the breaking of the dawn. Your personal Easter can be, too. Determine what you commit to resurrect and begin planning its emergence. If there’s one lesson to take from Easter, it’s that absolutely anything is possible.

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

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