There is an old joke about three fools arriving at the gates of Heaven.
Because I have a visual, and rather dramatic brain, I see it this way…
St. Peter is tired, he’s dealt with a lot of if-y folks lately and would really like to come across someone who knows at least something about Heaven and God and stuff so he can let them in.
So when these three guys rock up, all cocky and certain they can just stroll right on by, St. Peter holds up a hand. He figures he’ll toss them a softball question (because remember that, in my version, he’s tired and wants to get home. Probably for a shower and maybe some scrambled eggs with cheese).
He figures if he asks all three the same question, even if the first one doesn’t get the answer right, the second or third guy would get it right, due to the process of elimination.
Kind of like the SATs.
So he asks the first guy, “What is the meaning of Easter?”
And, yes, I imagine he says that just like the Bridgekeeper in Monty Python in the Holy Grail.
The first guy says that Easter is the holiday in November where everyone gets together and eats turkey and is thankful.
St. Peter cuts him off and casts him off of the clouds and there is screaming.
The second guy, who St. Peter thinks might get it because of the SAT elimination thing, is a little nervous and, when he is asked, says that Easter is all about Jesus.
St. Peter perks up because he really wants those cheesy eggs and the shower.
Then the fool describes decorating a tree and singing Christmas carols and Jesus’ birthday.
And he is cast off as well and there is also screaming.
St. Peter is almost out of hope, even though it is Heaven, and he looks at the third fool, surprised that he is not nervous and is actually pretty excited to give his answer.
St. Peter waves his hand in that sort of ‘hit me with your best shot’ manner, and the guy starts…
“Easter is a Christian holiday that coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover,”
St. Peter leans in, expectantly, and the guy continues.
“Jesus and his disciples were eating dinner and later Jesus was deceived and turned over to the Romans by one particularly jerky disciple. And then the Romans stabbed him and made him wear a thorn of crowns and nailed him up on a cross, and then his body was taken to a cave and that cave was sealed off by a boulder.”
St. Peter was psyched. He smiles and grabs his backpack and prepares to open up the Pearly Gates for this guy and head home. Then the fool adds,
“And every year, the boulder is moved aside and Jesus emerges and, if he sees his shadow, it means there will be six more weeks of winter.”
And St. Peter does a face-palm.
I totally love that story.
And not just because St. Peter sounds like the Monty Python guy.
Right now, I am actually sitting quietly, with my coffee.
The house has been sprinkled with about six pounds of candy – hiding everywhere – awaiting a 16 year-old, 22 year-old, and 23 year-old, who will emerge in a bit, and run around laughing and filling easter baskets with said candy before we eat our own eggs (perhaps cheesy) and get ready to see my Aunt P. and cousins later this afternoon, where we will tell stories – including the ones from the past two weeks – and laugh. It’s a good time, always. And I’m looking forward to it, a lot, today.
I was thinking about the boulder and the cave, in the story of Jesus, late last night.
And, as with many trips through my brain, the thoughts ambled and rambled and mixed meandered around.
The idea of the cave and the boulder melded with the idea of so many of us locking our ‘stuff’ away – the bad stuff, hard stuff, feelings, emotions that don’t make us happy.
Even if we try to turn it over to a higher power, our stuff pretty much hangs out with us.
It’s there. Even if it’s behind the boulders.
Sometimes we move the boulders ourselves to see if our stuff is still there.
To see if it still hurts.
Or if it still makes us afraid.
To see if we are really ready to see it, and deal with it.
Other times, we have no control.
Life’s earthquakes happen.
The boulders move all by themselves and we are forced to deal with our stuff.
Yesterday, someone asked me how I was dealing with the stuff that has been going on here for the past two weeks (recap: Fred’s stroke/episode, my own brush with death, Grampa’s cardiac emergency, and his increasing frailties in mind and body, Fred’s death earlier this week, and the injury to my hand).
I thought about the ‘how’, which feels so natural.
No shoving anything to the back of the mind.
Allowing all the new stuff to mix in with all the rest.
And all the good and the great.
If the tough stuff is out there, for me to see and examine and wonder about any time I want, it can’t surprise me.
Can’t ambush me.
Sucker punch me when I least expect it.
Out in the open and fully accessible to my ever- noodling brain, the tough stuff can teach me powerful lessons.
And it just becomes part of what is joyous, and miraculous about life.
Sure, Jesus’ death was hidden in a cave, behind a boulder.
And then he totally disappeared.
But, c’mon, he had an in with a really omnipotent Guy.
Who had a pretty powerful point to make about love.
The gift of all gifts, according to the stories.
I have a mighty/trenchant/puissant/wicked strong (I couldn’t decide) faith that joy, and love, and hope, and all the other good stuff will always rise to the top of life’s mixing bowl. Even if, sometimes, this might take a bit of time.
Good stuff ascends.
It just does.
Happy Easter to all.
Thanks for readin’.
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p.s., Photographic proof that Easter candy hunting knows no age limit…