Monday, April 17, 2006

Sometimes, you don't know how bad it's going to hurt.

This has been a strange Easter for me. Rather than realizing how much the ressurection means to me; rather than realizing how powerful Christ is to have conquered death; rather than truly understanding the grace and mercy that comes with this season, I have instead realized two things:

1. Nothing hurts more than knowing that you have betrayed someone you love. I can't imagine the pain Judas felt when he threw the coins to the floor and tightened the noose around his neck. But I'm sure every inch of his soul was self-absorbed with the guilt of betrayal. Betrayal that hurt him because it revealed to him his own wrongs, and all he wanted was to be was right. Knowing that you have betrayed someone who deeply loves you hurts because it screams in your ears. Betrayal puts a megaphone to the sensative ears of your ego, that precious ego which you so gently stroke and bolster every day, and screeches your imperfections like a banshee wailing for its death. I have betrayed someone whom I deeply love, and nothing has ever hurt me more. And feeling that pain screeches all the louder. I should be feeling badly for the friend I hurt, but instead, I am sad because the perfect person I pretend to be has died. I am selfish. I betrayed a friend, and knowing this hurts my ego, and I am sad for myself. I am a wreck. This Easter, I am learning about just how depraved I am.

2. I am more concerned about appearances than I am about truth. This year I tried to fast from everything but water for lent. I ate food, but didn't want to drink anything but water. I failed miserably, but it only bothered me when I was failing in front of other people. If I drank a glass of juice, or a soda when I was alone in my apartment, I was fine with it. When I drank a beer in front of people who didn't know I was fasting, I was fine with it. (But almost everyone knew I was fasting because I shouted my pious endeavor to everyone who saw me take a sip of water.) But, when I drank a glass of wine in front of people who knew I was fasting, only then did I feel like the hypocrite that I am. I went for a run the other day. When I was near WJU, while I was running next to the road, I ran hard. When other people could see me, even though they were complete strangers, and I knew I would never see them again, I ran as hard as I could. I looked fit, and trim, and cool. When I got into the woods, I stopped put my hands on my hips and sucked in air like a dying fish. Then, when I saw a man on the path, I started running again, lest he think that I was out of shape. I ran as hard as I could until he was out of sight, and then I stopped again, wheezing and sucking air. I don't really care about my own betterment, all I want is for other people to think I am disciplined. I want other people to envy me, and I'll do what I can to appear like I have it together. I want other people to be jealous of my character. I want other people to think I am a god. Then, when no one else is watching, I fall apart, and I don't have a problem with it. If I can be pristine and clean while people are watching, then I don't mind sitting in my own shit with the door closed.

This has been a very, very difficult Easter for me. I want to be encouraged. I want to be forgiven. I want to finally become the person that I try so hard to appear to be. I am tired with failing, with being lazy, with falling short and being okay with falling short. I am tired with my apathetic run at sanctification. It's time I put some effort in, and actually met Christ in my private time like I tell everyone else to do. It's time I took off the mask, time I stopped pretending, time I admitted that I'm a mess. It's time I did something about it. It's time I started concerning myself with Christ's opinion of my actions.

This whole experience reminds me of when we are growing old, and we realize that the heros in our lives were just normal people. When you see your dad grab his aching back while he's digging a hole. You realize that he's not a super man, he's just another middle aged guy with a shovel full of dirt and a bad back. It's like when you look at those heros in your life, those people that you made into false gods, and you think to yourself, "My how the gods have fallen."

Only this time, the god is me.

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