Easter for me always meant a celebration of renewal, rebirth and second chances - a measure of sacrifice rewarded for good people who worked hard and loved others.
I grew up in south, rural Mississippi - the kid of a truck driver and a hotel front desk clerk.
My parents sacrificed their entire lives to get all four of their children through college. They only recently had purchased a home by Easter Day 2020 - the first home they ever owned.
Then an EF-4 tornado tore through Mississippi on Easter Day in 2020. More than a mile-wide, the tornado destroyed their home and killed three of our neighbors.
During COVID-19, we cancelled our plans to all join together at their home for Easter - a gathering none of us had missed since we were kids. My mom missed seeing everyone, and left to join my younger sister a few hours away. If my mom had not left home a half-hour later, we would have lost her.
Maybe if we had not cancelled, all of us would have been there when the storm came through and we could have all died. Maybe if we had not cancelled, the butterfly effect would have kicked in and there would have been no tornado. I've played that day over in my head so many times, but especially the past two Easters.
Easter has a different weight to it now for us.
However you reflect on this day, Easter to me will always symbolize sacrifice and second chances. My mom certainly got a second chance. My entire family did that day. I believe there's a purpose for that - a bigger meaning behind it. I hope I am living up to whatever that is.
I hope you embrace this day, this time with your families, if you are so privileged, as we all think about the sacrifices made for us to be here today. Our world is far from perfect, but we are here, and we can make it better if we so choose.