LLOYD GRAY: Easter can transform the little valleys, too

By Lloyd Gray/NEMS Daily Journal

A husband and wife have an argument and brood around for hours, even days, avoiding any real communication. Then one is moved to break the stony silence, and the wall of separation shatters.
Two friends fall out over some perceived offense or difference, maybe not seeing or speaking to each other for a while, or simply noticing a change or a new distance in their relationship. Then an olive branch is extended, and the burden of loss both carry is lifted.
A little leaguer strikes out with the bases loaded and feels as if his world has caved in around him. Then someone he thinks he has let down tells him it’s OK, and he knows the person means it, and his spirit is lifted. Maybe later, much later, he gets a hit in a critical situation.
A person has an ineffective or unproductive day at work, and when he gets home the gnawing frustration carries over and pretty soon he’s feeling like an ineffective or unproductive human being. Then the next day dawns, and good things happen, and the problems of the day before give rise to new and better ways of doing things and to a renewed sense of energy and purpose.
A mother, feeling badgered, badgers her children back. Her carping takes more of a toll on her than it does on the children. Then a child, mindful of what is happening, slips outside and brings back a flower, handing it to Mom. Hearts soften and healing occurs.

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These are the “little Easters” of our lives, and there are thousands like them in the course of our journey. Each, in its own way, involves death and resurrection. Each brings light out of darkness.
They may not be the big-ticket problems of our lives, the ones we are thinking of as times when we must find a way to rise from the ashes. Personal or family crises, for example. The loss of loved ones. Losing a job or another kind of career or financial crisis. Natural or man-made disasters. War and suffering.
In these major events it is easy to see both the need for and, we hope, the occurrence of, resurrection. But THE resurrection is not only the source of redemption for these kinds of larger-than-life crises. It can also transform the peaks and valleys of everyday living.
It is in the everydayness where we spend the great portion of our lives anyway. “In the realm of the spirit,” writes the Quaker author Richard Foster, “we soon find that the real issues are found in the tiny, insignificant corners of life. Our infatuation with the ‘big deal’ has blinded us to this fact.”
Surely there is no more real issue than our continued need for little Easters, the hope of earthly resurrection when we die the little daily deaths that are part of human existence. The big Easter gives us a way of seeing through those little disappointments, stresses and strains to the promise of their redemption.
Years ago, we kept taped on our refrigerator until it turned yellow and tattered a “Ziggy” cartoon from the Sunday paper in which the pudgy, gentle, sometimes troubled but always unbreakable spirit cheerfully gets out of bed, pulls open his window shade, and says to the sun, “Each day it’s a relief to see you’ve decided to come back and give us a second chance.”
The message of Easter, of course, is that there is always another chance, and it doesn’t have a thing to do with our deserving it. It’s a gift, pure and simple, and as reliable as the sun coming up in the morning.
Christians usually have no trouble grasping this when it comes to the “big deal” issue of how Christ’s death and resurrection relates to our salvation and eternal life. We can see it, too, in the darkest hours of our despair.
But sometimes we miss the message when it comes to the basic stuff of everyday life. If it’s not grand and glorious, is it really resurrection?
The fact that we get another chance, and that most of us gladly take it, seems all the answer we need.
Happy Easter.

Lloyd Gray is executive editor of the Daily Journal. Contact him at (662) 678-1579 or lloyd.gray@djournal.com. The above is adapted from one of his previously published Easter columns.