Yesterday was Easter. Today is Easter. Every day is Easter, from my point of view (and the point of view of some pretty reliable historic sources). True story. Because if what the Christian church says happened on Easter really happened, then every day after that is a repeat celebration. An encore. One more chance to stare up into the heavens in what should be daily freaked-out surprise and say, “I can’t believe you did that for me!” If Jesus truly–physically, spiritually, historically, existentially, and any other ‘ly’–was dead and then wasn’t anymore forever, then today is still Easter. And that needs to mean something. Quite honestly, if such a thing happened, and you don’t think it merits more than one day’s notice in 365, you’re not taking this whole life and death thing we’re all in very seriously.
Sometimes on this blog I mention my faith, and sometimes I don’t. I won’t force it on you. I may occasionally offend you by the way it works out in my life. That happens when someone believes something with all her heart, devotes her life to it, and is passionate about it. If you never want to be offended, only interact with people who don’t care about anything. You’ll be crazy bored, but you won’t be offended.
The fact is, at one point in my life, I did look at that cross in freaked-out surprise and say, “I can’t believe you did that for me.” It happened for me when I was watching the movie Jesus Christ Superstar. Not a conventional conversion, I admit, but a fact. It took a few years of being around better people than I to realize exactly what that belief meant. I’m still working on it.
I’m writing about fear this year. Easter is the ultimate release from fear. Without Easter, I’d have nothing to say about fighting fears. I might try, and I might unleash all kinds of pop psychology to make you feel better temporarily, but really, without Easter, I got nothing.
On Easter, it seems appropriate to point out that fear comes from somewhere. It was never innate to human nature. Humans started this gripping emotion called fear by running away from God in the Garden of Eden. Why? Because they knew they had messed up, they knew He knew it, and they didn’t know what He was going to do about it.
It’s the same basic principle that caused me to hide in my closet when I was eight and I skipped out on dishwashing duty to go out and play even though I knew that my name was clearly on that chore chart and my mom would find me. No one who knows in her soul that she has deliberately opted to go against the established order of rightness feels good about that choice for long. We may go through all kinds of emotional gymnastics to pretend and believe we do, but eventually that delusional behavior bites us from behind. How long we choose to run from it depends on how stubborn we are.
We don’t like accountability for our actions. We’ve outgrown the notion that any behavior could actually be wrong. And we certainly have lost all enchantment with the word ‘sin.’ It’s quaint but irrelevant. Except no matter how far or fast we try to run away, we have soul-deep-knowledge that won’t be suppressed that there is wrong; that in fact, there is wrong in us, and it scares us. We hide, because our parent might notice our name on that chart at any minute and realize we aren’t doing our job.
Personally, I’ve come to realize that hiding in the closet comes with a few problems:
- One, the anxiety about what my (loving) parent might do imprisons my soul. I could just go and find out and get it over with. But why do that when I can spend hours imagining it in ever-increasing degrees of worry?
- Two, It locks my relationship into the realm of fear, when it could be transformed into the heathy thing it was meant to be–a parent and child teaching and growing.
- Three, hiding becomes my default whenever I don’t want to face something, robbing me of experiences outside the closet.
- Four, it’s really hot and stuffy in an upstairs closet in a century-old house with no air conditioning. I think this may have been the beginning of my claustrophobia issues.
It’s Easter. Still. Are you running? Running was never part of the nature God intended for you. He proved it by walking straight into the consequences of our behavior, facing the terrors there, and blasting them to bits with one shove of a stone away from a tomb and a sunrise beyond our craziest dreams. Today, instead of turning around and going about your day like it’s a normal Monday, look up. Stare into the sky. Say in freaked-out surprise, “I can’t believe you did that for me.” Yell it if you want to. Then, say to yourself, “And I can’t believe I haven’t responded.”