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By Eric A. Clayton

Have you found it yet? The last egg of Easter?

You know: The one you miscounted. The one you so cleverly hid on the highest shelf before remembering all of your kids were short. The one that rolled out of your basket and into the high grass, never to be seen again.

This is the egg you just ran over with your lawn mower — tiny shards of colorful plastic now adorn every corner of your landscaping. It’s the egg the mouse found long before you did — I wouldn’t touch that chocolate. It’s the egg the cat discovered and consequently batted under the couch.

This is the egg that’s half-buried in the dirt by the park near your home, the one the neighborhood kids never found, the one you walk by each day on your way to work. Should I pick it up? you wonder to yourself. No — that would just end the hunt for good. That egg is forever trapped in the precarious space between trash and childlike wonder.

There’s always one last egg.

When you find it — chewed up by mice and lawn mowers and the inevitable passage of time — what do you say? Oh, there you are! I knew there was one more. I knew we’d find you eventually. A smile on your lips, a chuckle rumbling about in your gut. A fond memory of egg hunts past dancing across your mind.

Or, do you frown and pout and shake your fist angrily at this wayward bit of colorful plastic? Does your mind wander back to those same egg hunts now tinged with regret? It could have been better; it should have been better. This stupid egg…

There’s always one more egg — and we have a choice to make when it’s found. Will we react with delight and surprise and wonder? Or, will we allow ourselves to wallow in what might have been?

Because those final eggs — well, they’re not literal eggs. Not always. The last egg of Easter for you might be a photo of a loved one that got stuck in the back of an old frame — you only found it because you were swapping out pictures, and now you’re suddenly awash in old memories of a distant relationship.

That last egg might be a postcard from a friend that got swallowed up in your pile of mail. You received it months ago, but why not reply today?

Or, maybe that final egg is a long-forgotten piece of jewelry, relegated to the back of your drawer but infused with meaning and love and the presence of your mother who has been gone nearly 10 years now. It’s that scrap of paper that you keep because of the handwriting or that old sweatshirt you hold onto because of where you got it — and who got it for you.

How do you respond when God surprises you with that one final egg — these simple items hidden about in the ordinariness of your own life? Do you embrace the invitation to relationship — both in pain and in joy — or do you suppress it, ignore it, fight it until it goes away?

At Easter — and during these subsequent 50 days — we celebrate the risen Christ. We celebrate Christ breaking free from the tomb and sinking into the everyday of our lives. Christ, who is present in all places and in all people.

Our hunt for Christ — if not colorful eggs — necessarily continues long after Easter Sunday. Christ is here now, waiting, inviting each of us to encounter God’s Spirit alive and at work in one another and in creation.

And when we stumble upon those little invitations in our everyday lives — those proverbial colored eggs, these simple objects of profound meaning — how do we respond? Do we accept the challenge to more closely encounter those Christ-bearers in our lives, past, present and future? Do we allow God to speak to us in our memories and our desires, even in our suffering and our shortcomings?

Or, do we shake our heads and furrow our brows and tell God that Easter is over, and we’re no longer interested in seeking out the Christ and certainly not interested in being surprised along the way?

This reflection is part of the award-winning weekly email series, “Now Discern This.” If you’d like to get reflections like this one directly in your inbox every Wednesday, sign up here.

a person smiling for the cameraEric A. Clayton is the award-winning author of Cannonball Moments: Telling Your Story, Deepening Your Faith and My Life with the Jedi: The Spirituality of Star Wars, an exploration of Star Wars through the lens of Ignatian spirituality (Loyola Press). He is the deputy director of communications at the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. His essays on spirituality, parenting and pop culture have appeared in America MagazineNational Catholic ReporterU.S. Catholic, Busted Halo and more, and he is a regular contributor to Give Us This Day, and Dork Side of the Force, where he blogs about Star Wars. His fiction has been published by Black Hare Press, Small Wonders Magazine, Air and Nothingness Press and more.  Sign up for his Substack “Story Scraps” here. He lives in Baltimore, MD with his wife, two young daughters and their cat.