It was raining. Monica sighed. It would figure, she thought. On the day of the New Hope Baptist Church Easter egg hunt. Of all days. She sighed again. Deeply, this time. Monica was nine years old. For three years straight, she had tried to win the church Easter egg hunt. She had failed each year and she was determined to win this time.
The church Easter egg hunt was well known throughout the small town Monica lived in. Each year, a special Easter egg was painted with an Easter bunny one side and a gold cross on the other. It was the only painted Easter egg hidden on the church grounds. All of the rest were pastel colored Easter eggs. So, finding the painted Easter egg was a monumental and life changing occasion. The painted egg hunt, they called it, at her school.
What was really funny and quite special was the fact that children begged and dragged their parents to this church all through the year. It was their favorite church. All because of the famous painted Easter egg hunt. Every Easter, all children had an equal chance to find the prized painted egg. The prize was money, a sweatshirt with New Hope’s logo on it and the honored free candy for one year from the local drug store prize. That was the lure. The big prize. Imagine being able to just walk into the store and pick out your favorite candy for free. Every day. For an entire year. Now, that made Easter egg hunting quite a sport among this town’s kids. A yearly very famous holiday. A joyous one.
Well, the rain did finally stop and the Easter egg hunt was scheduled for two o’clock. Easter had arrived and all of the children lined up to start the hunt. They began. Monica knew the church grounds very well and she also knew that the prized painted egg had been found in a very unusual location every year. No looking under all of the bushes or behind all of the flowers. She thought and thought hard. She looked around and tried to think of the last place that someone would look for an Easter egg.
Last year, it had been found behind the tire of the pastor’s car. All of the church grounds were considered Easter egg hiding territory. One year, it had been put inside of the church, by the front door. You just never knew. That was the fun of it. She looked around and thought some more. She was not going to waste her time madly dashing around searching. She was going to calmly figure this one out. She thought hard.
Suddenly, she saw something. Something that she thought no one else would see or notice. She went running out towards the New Hope church sign in the front of the churchyard. There were two bushes on each side of the sign. She held her breath and looked behind one. Nothing. She turned and looked behind the other. She saw a glimpse of white. She reached her hand in and pulled out an egg. With a gold cross. And an Easter bunny painted on it. She screamed. She screamed loudly. “I found it!” All came running.
And so, she did. She did find it. As all gathered around to congratulate her, the pastor asked her “Do you know what this means?” She said “Yes, I get free candy for a year!” He laughed and said “Yes, you do. But, it means something else, too. It means, as you look, you may find but, if you think hard and look, you will find even more.” Monica smiled. “And so, I did!”, she said. The pastor said “As a sign of Easter, look for signs that love is all around you.” Yes, Monica thought, this is indeed one. A lovely sign. A sweet one. Filled with hope. Happy Easter!