This past Sunday was Easter Sunday, and just like many churches across the nation and maybe even around the world, our church had an egg hunt for the kids. The preschool and Kindergarten group raced out into their section of the hunt, as they usually do, like a bunch of hungry monkeys in a banana tree. At the end of the hunt, my son and one other child were desperately looking for the last egg. It turned out to be the special golden egg…and it was not in my son’s hand.
As Will crumpled to the ground in a heap of tears at the injustice of it all, it hurt to watch him experience such disappointment. In my grown up mind, I was thinking about life lessons and how we can’t all have the golden egg. I learned it, and he needed to learn it, too.
I tried to lift his spirits by talking about all the eggs he did have in his bucket, and wondering what was inside them. The promise of sweets and stickers did nothing to placate him. None of his eggs were golden, and it was the end of the world.
With my efforts to console him fruitless, I took his hand and started walking him toward the car. On the way there, a group of older children and teens stopped us to ask what was wrong, as Will continued to sob. I told them he missed out on the golden egg, and instead of patting his head and telling him it would all be okay, one boy took an egg out of his bucket and gave it to Will. Then a teenage girl gave him an extra piece of chocolate. Finally, a teen boy took out his wallet and put a $1 bill in Will’s bucket!
We thanked them profusely for their generosity, and Will’s disappointment slowly began to dissipate. By the time we reached the car, I realized there was a lesson in all of this, but it was not about the hardship of life and not everyone being able to be a winner. Instead, it was something entirely different.
There was a lesson about generosity, to be sure, and coming to the aid of someone who is hurting. But there was also a deeper lesson about the truth behind not getting what we think we want.
“Do you see what happened, there, Will?” I asked. “You wanted that special egg, but you didn’t get it. Someone else got it. But if you had gotten the egg, you wouldn’t have gotten all those other things. Sometimes when you don’t get what you want, you end up getting something even better because of it.”
I’m not sure if Will understood – he was still sore from losing out on the golden egg. Perhaps it was not just a lesson for him, but for me as well. As I pursue goals – sometimes huge goals – sometimes I miss my objective. Sometimes I do not get the golden egg. But in those moments of disappointment, I should keep my eyes open for the blessing that follows.
Maybe the blessing is a learning experience – an education. Other times the blessing that comes along is worth twice as much as the original prize. You just never know what you could have missed by getting your hands on what you think you want.