All my memories of Easter growing up are just what I always thought Easter was all about...sweet, pure, meaningful, happy, restful, full of hope...beautiful. Dad was always home, we'd vacation in some cabin in the woods with lots of hiking and good family time, search for colored eggs, pull on brand new flowery dresses and find a breathtaking sunrise service. Jesus died ugly for my ugly sins yesterday, but celebrating what He did and "He is risen indeed" today was pure beauty.
Then there was Today.
Today was not so beautiful. Not sweet, not pure, not restful, not brimming with hope.
And yet somehow tonight, after a day almost amusingly jam-packed full of frustration after manipulation after angry screaming after lies after white-washed tombs after injustice after promiscuity after just UGLY, Easter seems both altogether different, and altogether more powerful than my jelly-bean Jesus memories.
If yesterday I felt guilty about leaving Haiti, today was one of those rare days that I felt READY. Somebody get me out of here, ready. It was supposed to be one last day at the beach with all our visitors with Matt and Junior preaching a huge crusade in the middle.
Instead, partly due to additional partying, drinking and promiscuity that this voodoo culture somehow twists Easter into, I witnessed such worldliness today. Heard people talk to all the kids in the back of our truck in ways they shouldn't have been spoken to. Saw people treating others terribly, saw many treating each other with selfishness and meanness. Had total strangers berate our visitors, had a total accident one of our visitors made result in screaming and cussing and threats, attempts at stealing, and ultimately, a very heated situation only paying them unjust money got us out of. Found Matt preaching to a huge group of proclaimed Christ-followers and finding the Holy Spirit and His fruit entirely void...His presence entirely missing. Watched our friends lied to, taken advantage of and manipulated by a woman and her children, deceiving, refusing, twisting.
I saw so very little kindness today, so very little joy today, so very little peace today, so VERY little good today.
It was just the perfect storm, it was just a really really crazy bad day.
But it is still Easter.
As I tucked our sweet girls into bed tonight, not understanding how to reconcile the day, we read the story of the day between His death and resurrection...the darkness of the day...the mourning. The feeling of the women, of the disciples, that there was just NOTHING LEFT in the world. That ALL hope was lost. That EVERYTHING they had dreamed of was smashed. That things would never be ok.
Feeling like God had no other plans, like there was nothing left for the future. Somebody get me out of here awful.
Such ugliness they had just experienced, had just witnessed, had just seen, even had just participated in. Ugly.
And yet tomorrow they saw that that was EXACTLY what Easter was all about...exactly what the cross was all about...
"It is finished" NOT BEING FINISHED AT ALL.
All hope lost only the moment RIGHT before hope EXPLODED.
God's work abruptly abandoned only to realize He had JUST begun.
All turned forever dark only to be blinded tomorrow by light.
TODAY, what I lived TODAY is EXACTLY why we are here, darn it.
TODAY is EXACTLY why EASTER.
TODAY is exactly why He came, exactly why He died, and best...e-x-a-c-t-l-y why He ROSE.
There is NOTHING pastel about Easter, family. Nothing bunny or chicky or sweet or feel good.
It is about complete and total UGLY.
About complete and total death for said ugly.
About pure and raw bloody LOVE because of said ugly then and today.
And best, Easter is about God. Not. Leaving. It. There.
It is, in the face of such horrific darkness and ugliness and manipulation and lying and stealing and abuse and cruelty, Still. Abundant. HOPE.
It is, in the face of FINISH and destruction and death and hopelessness, Complete. Total. REDEMPTION.
It is, in the face of the knowledge that things are NEVER going to get better and that things are SO messed up and wrong and twisted, the TRUMPING knowledge that He. Is. NOT. FINISHED.
That He is Risen, He is risen indeed.
That He is Risen for the lost, for the weary, for the hopeless, for the cruel, for the selfish, for the liar, for the thief, for the murderer, for the ME, He is risen indeed.
That His resurrection, His Easter, is not for the lovely and the beautiful and the cheery that you may or may not see at all in the world today, but that His resurrection, quiet and alone and unexpected and missed, is for ME. YOU. HERE. NOW. AS IS. BECAUSE of as is, He is risen indeed.
So we do not mourn, today, as those who have no hope. I CANnot mourn the day today as she who has no hope.
Because He is risen, I can still somehow CELEBRATE today, because it is for this broken that He broke. It is for this ugly that He let himself be uglied. It is for this hopeless day that He rose Himself our one and only bright and shining never-ending HOPE.
Because He is risen, SEND ME IN.
Break me. Ugly me. And might His bright and shining Hope brilliant ever bright in our hearts and pour unmistakably through our lives because He is Risen.
Today and every.