A New Kind of Easter


“This is going to be the most boring family home evening ever!” groaned Jeremy, slumping in his chair as he pushed his carrots into his potatoes. “Couldn’t we just stay home and make Easter treats? What kind of Easter celebration is this?”

“We’ve already discussed this,” said Dad firmly. “Too many Easters have come and gone with very little thought about its real meaning. It’s time our family made a change. Tonight’s service project is the sort of thing the Savior was doing the last week of his life—helping others.”

“But why her?” moaned Jeremy.

“That’s enough,” said Mom. “Finish your dinner. We don’t have a lot of time before the sun goes down.”

Sullenly Jeremy sat up and started in on the cold potatoes. It wasn’t that he had anything against their next-door neighbor, Mrs. Adams. And it was obvious that an eighty-year-old widow needed help. But why couldn’t they do something for someone like Sister White? Every time anybody did anything for her, she treated them with delicious homemade cookies.

Or what about the Spencers? Jeremy’s Primary class had helped them move in. The very next Sunday Sister Spencer had even cried as she bore her testimony about “those wonderful Blazer boys.”

And the time Jeremy’s Cub Scout den had cleaned up the playground at the park hadn’t been too bad, either. The mayor himself had written them a thank-you note and sent them each a coupon for an ice cream cone.

But it was going to be different with Mrs. Adams. She hardly did any cooking—people brought most of her meals in to her. She didn’t go out in public enough to tell anybody else how wonderful Jeremy’s family was. And she certainly didn’t have enough money to treat everyone to ice cream. Besides that, she was hard of hearing. She would probably sit in her house watching TV and never even notice that they were working in her yard.

Cleaning Mrs. Adams’s yard was about as hard as Jeremy had imagined. It took his whole family nearly two hours to rake up the dead leaves and grass and prune the bushes on the side of her house. It was nearly dark when they finished. And he had been right about Mrs. Adams and the TV. She had it turned up so loud that they could hear it outside. She never knew what was going on only a few feet away, right outside her door. Even so, Jeremy started to smile when he thought about how surprised she would be.

Jeremy’s oldest sister, Kim, was helping him tie up the last bag of dead leaves. “I know how you feel about tonight. I had to cancel plans with my friends!”

Jeremy didn’t know what to say. Kim was in high school and was so busy that he hadn’t really talked to her for a while.

“But this morning in seminary,” Kim went on, “Sister Hansen reminded us that no one has ever done more for other people on this earth than Jesus. When he prayed in Gethsemane and when he died on the cross, nobody said thank you. Anyway, I started thinking that maybe it would be a good way to celebrate Easter, to do something hard without getting thanked.” She smiled. “You’re quite a worker, you know that? And I happen to know that Mom made brownies for us, so cheer up.” She picked up the bag and carried it out to the curb.

But it wasn’t the brownies that Jeremy was thinking about as he watched her go. He was thinking about how strangely peaceful he felt. The last dark pink of the sunset was just fading, and he could barely see the rest of his family as they gathered up the rakes, pruning shears, and other things and headed home. But he knew that his family were there, and he knew that he loved them. He could see Mrs. Adams through her living room window as she stood up with her cane to go into the kitchen. And while Jeremy didn’t understand all of those feelings he was having, he knew for sure that Easter time was never going to be the same again.

[illustration] Illustrated by Larry Winborg