Heat can harden or soften us

Coloring Easter eggs has been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember.
Coloring Easter eggs has been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember.
This was the first Easter in as long as I can remember that I did not color Easter eggs with family and friends. The tradition runs so deep that two years ago when I was unable to make the trip home, I joined in on the fun via Facetime.

While Easter means more to me than dipping eggs in colored liquid, I have grown fond of some traditions surrounding the holiday.

It all began when my family moved from the country into town. We invited our neighbor kids over to color eggs on Easter Saturday morning, and the tradition stuck.

Year after year, we?d gather around the table, color eggs in a variety of hues, then take them outside to hide.

Even as the kids got older, we still looked forward to it. Before long, I was in high school. But my friends still wanted to come. As the oldest of the kids, the day came when I headed off to college. Even then, the tradition continued. Even when our oldest neighbor boy, seven years my junior, went off to college, he still came back to color Easter eggs.

The fun was more than coloring eggs, it was a Satur?day-morning chance to enjoy life together.

I?ve been thinking about the egg-coloring process lately. It began with boiling dozens of eggs in preparation for the event.

Here, I would like to pause.

When an egg is subjected to boiling water, it hardens. Something about the heat of the water causes the egg to solidify, becoming firm where it once was fluid. However, put a potato in that same boiling water, and it softens. The boiling water didn?t change, but the result did.

I?ve felt submerged in boiling water lately, the stresses and circumstances of everyday life rolling over me in turbulent waves.

The past two months have been an emotional rollercoaster. I?ve experienced the pain of losing a loved one, the high of traveling to Branson and Sioux City for national basketball, grief over unexpected loss, and everything from exhaustion to joy to sorrow.

So when I came back from taking preview photos after school one day last week and discovered I had locked myself out of my apartment, I had reached my breaking point. I didn?t have time for this in my jam-packed schedule.

With spring preview deadlines breathing down my back, and the constant chatter of, ?You don?t have time for this,? playing in my head, I faced a choice. With pressure mounting, I faced an inner battle of how to respond.

Would I become tense inside, unwilling to deviate from my strictly planned schedule, allowing anger to build and my outer circumstances to dictate my inner state? Or would I accept the unexpected and remain calm in the face of difficulty?

My circumstance wouldn?t change either way, but how I responded could.

I can?t say I responded perfectly, but I did learn a thing or two about the kindness of others and taking life as it comes, and any curveballs thrown my way.

Unfortunately, I?ve not always responded well to the ?boiling water? in which I?ve found myself. I?m still a work in progress. Really, it?s only by God?s grace that I can accept circumstances as an opportunity for growth instead of tensing and spiraling out of control.

The same boiling water that hardens an egg, softens a potato. Which one will you be?