Everybody does stupid things, at least this body does. My stupidity is revealed through boo boos both big and small.
I eat too much and whine too much. I rage against things for which I have no control.
I have damaged relationships that should be dear to my heart. I am prideful and fearful and foolish and short-sighted and sporadically lazy.
I am often confused by societal norms, and blinded by the speed of time. I am occasionally distant when I’m needed and needy when I should be helping others far more deserving.
I am thoroughly human and am therefore a mess — in super-cool sneakers, mind you — but still a mess.
Easter is all about messes. The story itself is grotesque, with condemnation and beatings, thorns and nails, and an innocent dying on a cross built by messy hands.
It reveals every aspect of man’s stupidity and boundless inhumanity — betrayal and denial, cruelty and viciousness.
It is gut-wrenchingly sad, with the death of perfection and a three-day journey to a terrifying place.
Easter is about overcoming, too. It’s about wiping souls clean and filling us with spirits full of light and love and kindness and grace.
It is the essence of faith, and believing in a power bigger than we can possibly comprehend. It’s about crying out — in our stupid, imperfect, boo-boo ridden humanity — to a perfect and loving God, and being welcomed with open arms.
It’s about joy, and the destruction of our awful selves for the simple price of believing in something that legions of skeptics claim is bunk.
It’s about becoming fresh and new, even if doing so requires recommitting time and time again. Start wherever you are, right here and now. You can’t erase the past, but you can change the future.
Easter is an undeserved gift available to anyone — the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the social butterfly and the socially awkward. It’s for the fatherless and the hopeless, the depressed and the discouraged.
It took me a long time to fully grasp the power of Easter. Blame it on childhood angst and soulless churches, or a vision narrowed by a noisy, angry world.
In the years of my youth, I was someone you probably wouldn’t care to know. God seemed far away and for other folks — like a country club for which I would never be invited to join.
It’s a miracle I didn’t end up face-down in a ditch.
I grew wiser with time. I married, raised a family, worked jobs, bought houses, moved around, built and switched careers, and became a grandparent.
It was the ordinary stuff of life mixed with a growing sense that I was being pursued by a power far beyond my comprehension.
My bullheaded pride fell as my humility rose. I prayed more and raged less, appreciated more and wanted less.
I don’t know exactly when I fully accepted the gift that Easter celebrates. My faith was a gradual journey, without the brass band and fireworks of a sudden awakening.
Little by little, Easter became less about manmade mess and more about Christ-made joy.
Sometimes I still struggle. There are effortless days when faith comes easy, and others when I must cling to it like a drowning man to a life raft.
To those who don’t understand the story, Easter looks crazy and unbelievable. How can a flesh-and-blood man die an excruciating death and later rise to eternal life?
“Preposterous!” cynics declare. “It’s fodder for feeble minds.”
But the story and the faith it spawned have endured for 2,000 years. There is no belief like it in the world — this notion that God built a bridge that enables perfection and brokenness to meet in eternal life, love, joy and forgiveness.
Like the criminal that hung on the cross next to a dying Jesus, Easter changes messy lives forever.
All we must do is accept the gift. All we must do is believe in its power.
Happy Easter and ONWARD!