I hope, dear reader, you will forgive me for not blasting bunnies and eggs and chocolates as I discuss why last weekend’s Easter holiday was so enjoyable. Part of the celebration of Jesus’ sacrifice, in my opinion, is to enjoy the peace and freedom it accomplished. Therefore, I believe that after we internalize the magnanimous gift of having our sin conquered and we have recalibrated our minds and hearts, it seems OK to enjoy some of the less critical aspects of the Easter weekend.
Friday morning we just lay around leisurely. We all slept until after 9 a.m. The boys bounced out of bed and ran to the video games, and my girl was able to eat her breakfast and get dressed as slowly as she wished. It was not as much fun for her to be pokey in the morning when Mom and Dad were not frantic and arguing over who was less likely to get fired if late again, but it still seemed to be pretty all right.
In a rare break from normal household duties, my wife was doing Facebook on the computer. It was nice and cloudy outside, good for sipping coffee and reading, and all our obligations were ignorable. The morning was wonderfully wasted and completely misspent — it was beautiful.
But a cold wind brushed me somewhere mid-day. Things were too good. It was like Vu Ja De — the feeling that somehow, some way, I’ll never be here again. At first it stole some joy, but then I recognized it for the lie it was: Pessimism, that old familiar voice. He said, “Ah, I don’ know, Bradley, things zis a little too good. You betta’ watch out.” I do not know why Pessimism’s voice sounds exactly like the boss I had when I proposed marriage to my wife. Maybe because he used to say that phrase every time I tried to talk about her. But he was wrong then, too, so I flicked him off my shoulder and went on.
A tragic thing happens to people as they age in that they actually look forward to really lame activities like finishing projects. I was drawn to the garage to knock down some honey do’s, and I forbade everything electronic and made the kids help me, because it would have been too easy without their help. We finished several little jobs, and I texted my wife to come outside and look. Yes, I’m that lazy. Plus, I knew she would be working hard yet with her iPhone holstered for quick draw, should any of her less fortunate friends be stranded without Internet, because real virtual friends don’t leave people behind when they are cut off from their Wi-Fi supply lines. Then I graded papers till I was caught up, and I looked with satisfaction at my day. The rest could wait until later.
Now it was Saturday but still not “later.” The very definition of “later” is “not now,” so don’t judge. We slept in again. There was bacon. We were cruisin’. The yard needed mowing, but I got a free moral pass on that one because the yard was too wet. And, as if all that were not enough, we were heading out of town for two family dinners.
Sure there are some aspects of family dinners that can be unpleasant, but think of the positives. Where else can a person witness 30-year-olds still eating at the little kid card table in the living room? Where else, besides Congress, can a person witness adults lying in unison?
You see it before the meal, “I think we should wait for them.” Lie. Then we hear, “Sorry I’m late.” Lie. Then, “We haven’t been waiting long.” Lie. You see it in line for filling plates, “Ah. You go first. I’m not really hungry.” Lie. This year at one party no one made mashed potatoes and gravy. I did not know this even needed to be discussed. The true meaning of Easter is Christ conquering our death, but the true meaning of family dinners is mashed potatoes and gravy. “It’s OK to replace mashed potatoes and gravy with the slaw-salad-thing.” Lie. When the hostess tries to pawn off the mystery casserole, “No, thank you. I’m really full.” Lie. With dessert, “I just want a little piece.” Lie. On leaving, “See you soon.” Lie.
Where else can you see all the men after the meal sitting in front of the TV in a loose semicircle just wishing someone else would be the first one to ask to turn on the TV? The front row of guys will be in chairs. The second row of men will be standing around talking, hovering inconspicuously within viewing range of the TV for the cue to whip around to form an amphitheater.
I love those dinners. The weekend was still rollin’.
Even more so I loved the dinner Sunday night when I took my wife out to Red Mango for her birthday. It is inconsistent to be proud of a selfless act, but it was quite a sacrifice on my part since just hearing my wife describe the place made a few of my chest hairs recede. It is a place where you put yogurt in a cup and then add every topping from blackberries to cookie dough to estrogen to chocolate syrup. But the date was supposed to be all about my wife; so I just did unto her what I would want her to do unto me, and I wore a low-cut top and my tightest jeans. I think that helped me enjoy Red Mango more anyway.
Well, the holiday ended that night, and the easy fun flittered away. And I supposed that would be sad if all I came away with from the weekend was a spiritual sugar crash, having eaten only spiritual carbohydrates for three days and no spiritual protein. But because I did have some protein in remembering how Jesus willingly died for me and how much God is in love with me, I could enjoy guilt-free the carbs – the hundred silly activities that fill up the three-day weekend and seem to some to violate the reverence of such a crucial event.
Of all the problems I have with distraction and Pessimism and rebellion, it would be pretty unfair to rail on the bunnies and eggs and chocolates.
Brad Clemons is a Missouri alumnus who has always followed after God, like a small girl with her hair in the tailgate of a truck.