It was nearly six months after Julia Grace passed away when springtime naturally rolled around, and of course that meant it was time for the annual Easter photos of the kids. That year, as you can imagine, was much different though. It was hard to not wonder what the photos would have looked like with a six-month old baby Julia added to the picture.
Kimberly had decided that she wanted to take photos out at the little country cemetery where we laid Julia’s earthly body to rest. At first, I wasn’t too keen on the idea – I mean, who takes Easter pictures at a cemetery? – so I tried to persuade her otherwise, suggesting a park, or perhaps our ranch, or the old beautiful Episcopal Church downtown, but I struck out swinging. She had her heart set on this.
So one sunny afternoon, with the kids dressed up in their coordinating spring outfits, we loaded up and drove to the little cemetery about twenty minutes south of town. When we pulled through the gates, the entire cemetery was covered in the most beautiful blanket of bluebonnets. As usual, we parked under the tree next to where Julia is buried, and as we almost always do, we let the kids get out and walk around a bit. While they explored a while, Kimberly walked around until she found the absolute perfect spot she had envisioned for the pictures.
Now don’t get me wrong, Kimberly is an incredible photographer, but let’s give credit where credit is due. If you’ve ever wondered why our kids always have these million dollar smiles in every photograph, it’s usually because there is a dancing monkey in background, aka “Me” doing whatever it takes, just so she can get that perfect shot with all three smiling at the same time.
At some point during the photo shoot, as I watched Jake, Jack, & Jolee Kate giggle and dance around in those fields of bluebonnets and headstones, it became increasingly obvious to me that Kimberly was right – this was the perfect place to take our Easter photos. You see, Easter isn’t about candy eggs and chocolate bunnies; it’s about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He gave His life so that someday we can live again, eternally with Him.
The symbolism between the bluebonnets and the headstones was reflective of the life we live. I rejoiced because it was a reminder that in this world we are surrounded by death, but thanks to the love and grace of Jesus Christ, we will live beyond those graves. To me, it was a reminder that the little girl that we buried just 6 months earlier was not there in the ground of that little cemetery, but rather she is in Heaven, and someday, because of Jesus, I will see her again.
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
Later that night, after the kids went to bed, I sat quietly, still picturing our three oldest children, surrounded by bluebonnets and headstones, and their little sister buried in the distant background. What at first seemed like such a sad and eerie location, turned into the most beautiful, fitting place for our family’s Easter photos. The entire situation made me that much more thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It was truly an Easter that I will never forget. This Chorus was inspired by that day.
“Like bluebonnets in the spring, we’re only here for a little while. It’s beautiful and bittersweet, so make the most of every mile. So pack light and love heavy, give it all your heart and soul so in the end you wont regret one thing…Life is like bluebonnets in the spring.”
The last few years have taught me that life is sometimes tough, but it is only temporary; this world is not our home. Like I do every day, I pray that Jesus continues to move through our lives, and if you don’t know Jesus, I encourage you to seek Him.
The Watson Family
Listen to Bluebonnets here