Monday, April 18, 2011

Peeling away the Saran-Wrap

Easter is less than a week away.  Yet I am confused.  Where are the Easter lights?  Where is the live crucifix scene?  (never mind on that one, I can already see how that might be a bad idea).   But still, something is severely missing.  Christmas time hub bub starts the day after Halloween with plastic Santas, plastic trees, and plastic smiles.  I have yet to hear an entire radio station dedicated to Easter music.  Or even a CD, for that matter.  This strikes me as very odd.  Don't get me wrong, Christmas is wonderful and the birth of our Savior is nothing to be taken lightly.  But to me, its His death that is really worth getting excited about.  We are celebrating the day where the stockpile of sins that were our fast-pass to eternal death were destroyed.  The overwhelming guilt and fatal consequences of our human imperfections were wiped cleaner than the whitest white board (excuse the poor analogy).  Not only that, the all-knowing, forever-existing, incredibly powerful God that formed our bodies and forms our future extended His hand in friendship.  He gave us life and also a relationship with God.  Obviously, all this couldn't have happened if Jesus wasn't born but this is the why behind His birth.  This is what it all comes down to.

 And we celebrate by eating ham and doing egg hunts?  Perhaps Christmas receives so much attention because we feel like there is more in it for us.  It means time off of school, an excuse to overindulge, and time with family.  Not too mention the presents.  I find it sad that we get more excited about what limited-warranty plastic gift might be in a shoebox wrapped in paper than the idea that we have been given access to God and to eternal life. 

Sure, there are Easter traditions.  Like the classic egg hunt.  Exactly what does this have to do with the gruesome death and glorious Resurrection of Jesus?  Oh, it's a symbol, you say?  Eggs mean rebirth.  Why didn't I think of that?  Probably because no one is thinking about how miraculous the Resurrection of Jesus was when they are shoving someone into the dirt so they can get to a plastic egg with last year's candy in it.

This culture is incredibly good at taking things and making them "Christian".  We can take our beloved traditions and Saran-Wrap them with the a plastic film of Christianity.  Here's the funny thing about Saran-Wrap: it's clear.  You can see right through it. The same goes for trying to make things that mean nothing mean something about God.  Its not only pointless, its completely unnecessary.  God shows Himself in so many ways, He really doesn't need our futile fumblings.  He is in the fact that you are about to take another breath.  He is seen in the breath-taking beauty of both the world He created and the people that inhabit it.  His love is immense and overwhelming and Easter is an incredible time to reflect on how incredible God is.......while munching away on that 12 pound chocolate bunny, of course.

Extra side note:  Some try to devalue Easter since the actual date of the holiday is not historically accurate.  I would agree, I don't believe we can know the exact date of the Crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This does not make His death and Resurrection or the celebration of it any less legitimate.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fatal Should's Haves

It’s the should have’s and would have’s that will kill someone. People who know what they should do but find ten excuses that kill their inner conviction. We are too afraid that we will make someone uncomfortable, that we will create an awkward moment. Go ahead. Make it uncomfortable. Make it awkward. When you see someone hurting, your going tos, should haves, and maybe laters aren’t going to help. They can’t read your mind. They don’t know how much you want to help if you never release your thoughts and turn them into notes and words and actions. Because guess what? There might not be a second time. This could be your only chance to change someone’s life. Don’t ever assume that there will be a later for you to muster up your courage and talk to someone. This isn’t about you. This is about waking up and not ignoring the problems around you because you think you might say the wrong thing.

Don't think someone else is going to take care of it.  Everyone thinks that.  Everyone assumes that somewhere, some kind hearted person will notice that there is a broken human being in front of them and will help them find the pieces and put themselves back together.  Yet if we all believe that someone else will take the responsibility, no one will.

Overreact to the smallest cues. If someone is talking in the past tense about a problem, it probably is very real in the present. If someone is making a joke about a hurt and pasting that smile over their sorrow, the hurt isn’t gone. If someone is becoming more and more outgoing, then they might be withdrawing on the inside. If someone seems to always be happy on the outside, they probably rarely have true joy.

Stop lying to yourself. Saying things like “It doesn’t mean anything” “They would talk to me if they needed help” People won’t. People will hide within themselves before they ever tell you they need you. If you misread a cue and talk to someone about it and you are wrong, that’s okay. They might think you are overly concerned and too analytical but it won’t hurt anyone.  If you don’t speak up when you think someone is hurting, it’s not okay. They needed you. They desperately wanted someone to pick up on their hints and you ignored them for the sake of being comfortable and not rocking the boat. That was all they are going to give you to let you know something was wrong.

Call them out. Confront them.

They are crying. They are screaming. But they won’t ever tell you that. They want you to know something is wrong yet at the same time feel they must keep up the brave face. Tell them its okay not to be happy. Never let something go because you don’t have the time to deal with it. You aren’t just letting someone’s problem go; you are letting a human being slip away forever.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I miss you.

I miss you.  We haven't even met officially.  I wonder who you would have turned out to be.  Would you have been brave and beautiful?  Would you have been compassionate and caring?  Would we have been best friends? Whoever you would have been, you would have been wonderful.  When I look into the faces of my friends, I see pieces of you there.  Their little mannerisms and wonderful qualities only serve to remind me of what you could have been.  For as much as I search for you, I'll never find the whole you.  You never even got the chance to exist.  You could have changed the world.  You would have been someone's son, someone's brother, someone's husband.  You didn't deserve this.  We all have been given a life-a chance to screw things up and suffer the consequences.  You suffered the consequences for just existing.  You didn't even have a chance to make a mistake.   You didn't even choose to exist yet your fate was chosen for you.  Don't you know?  I miss you terribly.  We'll meet for the first time in my future sometime.

Yours truly,