Letting Go, Reaching Out

Nothing says "Jesus lives" like processed sugar...
Nothing says “Jesus lives” like processed sugar…

Yesterday I went for a morning run. I jogged past houses with parents in robes watching their children hunt for Easter eggs. I smiled when the kids squealed with delight and knew they’d found one of the colorful prizes. I remembered those days when my kids would be so thrilled to find a bright orange egg “hidden” in the middle of a freshly-mowed lawn.

My boys are 12 and 9 so they are past this, which does make me a little sad. In fact, my 12-year-old’s reaction to his Easter basket was, “This is so lame. I got up early for this?” Well, he didn’t actually say these words (I don’t know if “lame” is even used by his generation) – I just put words to his grunts and eye rolls. Even the cookies-and-cream Easter bunny and enough candy to send him into a diabetic coma failed to impress him.

I feel both of my kids stretching for their independence and I struggle to step back and let them explore. I let them ride their bikes to the park without hovering over them (but make them call me every hour just to make sure they are okay.) The Easter Bunny must sense my desire to keep reaching out to my sons because they each received a game in their basket, which we can play together. I won’t push it, but if they ask for my time to play, it’s theirs.

My younger son hasn’t quite gotten to the separation age, so I have him for a while longer. My 12-year-old, on the other hand, is horrified at the thought of being seen in public with me.  At home, he will visit with me… sometimes. He may not be reaching out to me, but I have to keep trying.  When the day comes that he does need me, I want him to know I’m right here.

Always.

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A Dum-Dum In A Smartie World

There are times when I get a little smug and overestimate my intelligence.  I’m flying high, until I hit the inevitable brick wall of truth and realize that I’m not that bright after all.  Yep, the truth does hurt; it is painful when I realize I’m at the low end of normal, at best.

Regular readers of my blog may be a bit confused.  I can hear it now.  “We’ve never compared you to Einstein or anything, so where’s the big news flash?” and “Geez, you really are dumb if you thought you were that smart.”  <followed by uncontrollable laughter>

Here’s the deal:  Last weekend, I was faced with two situations that shined a 500-watt spotlight on the fact that I’m not nearly as smart as I (sometimes) think. 

First Not-So-Shining Moment:

My husband woke me up at 6:18 Easter morning and posed a question that made my heart skip a beat before leaping into my throat.  (Not in a good way, either.)  He nudged me and asked, “Did the Easter Bunny come?”

Those five words sent a panic through me and I suddenly felt like a six-year-old girl who just set the bathroom trash on fire and needed a way to hide the burned carpet.  (Oh…uh, hypothetically speaking, of course.) 

I hadn’t been out to the family room to check those baskets on the couch, but I was sure the kids had awakened at the crack of dawn and discovered the awful truth.  Even though I hadn’t gotten out of bed, I knew they were empty because I had inside information that the Easter Bunny had indeed skipped our house because the Easter Bunny had too much fun blogging and writing the night before and <gasp> forgot.

Lucky for the Easter Bunny, we were able to cover his little white cotton tail.  Yes, we placed the goodies in our plastic lawn chairs on the back patio and then crawled back into bed.  When the kids came in ten minutes later to tell us about their empty baskets, we assured them there must be a mistake.  We searched inside the house before following our older son’s suggestion to check outside.  We were unsure whether he knew of the Bunny-Gate cover up, so, we ate chocolate and jelly beans and no one spoke a word of it.

Second Not-So-Shining Moment:

Last year, Hubby got the crazy sweet idea to color Easter eggs with the kids on the day before Easter (while I spent a “girls’ day” with a friend.)  I came home late that afternoon to find a dozen brightly colored eggs.  I also discovered a countertop, two children and two sets of clothes dyed in the same hues.

Deciding that was a bad idea, my husband and I searched our brains for an alternative activity.  I don’t know which one of us thought of it, but someone suggested decorating cookies.  We both agreed that frosting and decorating cookies with colorful sprinkles would be a fun activity.

As the kids eagerly jumped into the art of decorating with sugar, we soon realized the error in our judgment.  Brightly colored sprinkles migrated from the waxed paper squares on the countertops, onto the tile floor, and then to the bottoms of my bare feet.  Frosting was not content with staying on the knife or the paper towels.  No, it snuck onto hands, clothing and cabinet doors.  (My neat-freak hubby made himself scarce during this debacle.)

Cookie decorating joins decoupage, finger painting, glitter art, pine cone decorating, and anything made with liquid glue in the “What Was I Thinking?” category.  Even with all of these messy choices, I still believe we will come up with a less-mess idea for next year. 

A Smartie would realize that this will never happen.  I guess being a Dum-Dum has its advantages 😉

Do you have any fun, but not-too-messy ideas?

BYOF (Bring Your Own Faith)

Before Jesus was crucified, he told Peter that Peter would disown Jesus three times before the next morning.  Peter didn’t believe it.  (Matthew 26:33-35)

Sure enough, the prediction came true.  At Jesus’ trial, Peter denied being with Jesus three different times, when asked by three different people. (Matthew 26:69-75)  Immediately after the third denial, a rooster crowed – just as Jesus said it would.  That is when Peter remembered Jesus’ prediction.  Peter broke down and cried at the realization that he failed and betrayed Jesus.

Peter.  A disciple.  A man who stood in the very presence of Jesus, the Son of God.  If he was susceptible to this denial, what does that mean for us, who believe by faith alone, sight unseen?

Peter was faced with certain death if he admitted his association with Jesus.  He chose to save himself.  The thing is, Jesus could’ve saved himself, too.  He could have called upon God to destroy His tormentors and prove (once again) that He was the Christ.  But He didn’t.  Jesus knew He had to die as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of His believers.

I’d like to say I wouldn’t have betrayed Jesus as Peter did, but I have to be honest – I can relate to him.  He had believed so strongly and yet, failed so miserably.  How horrifying it must have felt the moment he realized what he had done. 

There have been times when I have hidden my Christian beliefs to “fit in.”  I have felt remorse for being weak in the face of opposition.  I have shied away from opportunities to talk about Jesus’ sacrifice for us.  Like Peter, I have cried at my own lack of courage and absence of unwavering faith.

No, I don’t judge Peter.  I understand him…a little too well.

To me, Easter isn’t about colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and baskets of jelly beans.  I feel sadness for Jesus’ torture and execution, awe at his resurrection and gratefulness for his courageous sacrifice for me; a person who truly is not deserving. 

I ache for those who regard Jesus’ life and death as a myth or a fable.  I pray that one day their hearts will soften and melt away the layers of unbelief.

So it is with a heavy heart that I nibble the ears off my Dove chocolate bunny.  Somewhere in my subconscious I am aware that I cannot strengthen my fragile faith with milk chocolate sweetness, but I do it anyway.  This is the sick weak person that I am.

Can you relate to Peter (or my “chocolate therapy”) in any way?