Now, creating PYSANKY Finley style is not new for our family, and not even new for Katya.
However, this year, we’re going to attempt the real deal.
Passover Seder, Resurrection Rolls, and a “He’s ALIVE” cake have been part of our Easter Celebration for years. But this year, we’ll add in PYSANKY!
Yesterday, on the way home from our homeschool co-op, I asked Katya if she had ever made pysanky in Ukraine. “No,” she said. “I’ve seen them, but I’ve never made them.”
For Katya, our desire is not to wipe out her culture, erase the first eight years of her life, make her forget the grandmother who she loves and misses, but to see her past become healthily integrated into her present and her future. She has a new identity. She is no longer “Grabchenko” but “Finley.” And yet, the threads of her first eight years contribute to who she is in the present and the tapestry of who she is becoming for all eternity.
I understand this process. I was adopted into a new family at the age of 21. I have a new identity in Christ. I came with baggage, scars, and even open, gaping wounds – some of my own doing, some not. The Lord was patient with me (and continues to be) as He nurtured my faith giving me milk to drink, taught me to crawl, stand, and then walk, exchanging my ashes for beauty, and declaring freedom over me, even when I wanted to return to Egypt. But, even so, He didn’t erase the shaping influences of my life. He didn’t even declare them all bad, but rather said …
“All of this that is your life ‘before Me’ was really not ‘before Me.’ I was there.”
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5
I chose you before the foundation of the world was laid to be holy and blameless, adopted as my child. Ephesians 1:4-6
I saw you in your slavery. I saw you and I know your sufferings. I heard your cries and I came to deliver you and bring you into the land. Exodus 3
You did deliver me, Lord, as surely as you set Katya on that airplane and brought her home with me and into our family. You delivered me, far more than I know. And you are still delivering me.
You say, “Remember.” Remember the slavery. Remember your deliverance. Remember. That’s what the Passover is all about. Remembering.
And so, as we celebrate Passover declaring Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the One whose blood is painted over the doorframes of our heart … as we make Resurrection Rolls symbolizing Jesus who went into the tomb but was not there on Easter morning … as we cut into “He’s ALIVE” cake celebrating that Jesus is indeed ALIVE and one Day will return, we will be remembering.
And, as we make PYSANKY we will remember and celebrate Katya’s Ukrainian heritage because who she is and who she is becoming is shaped by all that she has experienced. And ours is too. Although the 38 days I was separated from the other six was a huge price to pay, it was worth it – not only for the obvious reasons, but also because it gave us more time to enter into Katya’s world, to walk the streets of Odessa, to experience her life at the internot, to feel what it’s like to be sojourners in a foreign land, and most significantly … to spend time with Tamara, the woman who gave up her granddaughter that she might have life.
So, between our Passover celebration on Thursday night and making odd connections between Jesus, marshmallows, cinnamon, sugar, and butter and Saturday evening, we’ll make PYSANKY. And we may even have borscht for dinner!