The Easter sun rises through my patio window. Another Easter, another year of challenges – another year remembering could haves, should haves, and would haves. Over the years, I’ve experienced several hard transitions between Good Friday and Easter. Each year I vow otherwise, but like many, I spent Easter reminiscing, not so much on loves and past dreams but more so on what went wrong.
Easter 1984 I was informed I had a major disease. I would live maybe 20, 25 years if going downhill with the wind behind me. Now, I’m 56. Go figure?
Good Friday 2010 I was fired by telephone and lost the love of my live. Both walked out the door on Good Friday and never looked back. Six years later, I have received none of the forgiveness requested.
Easter 2016 brought another round. Like an old food item, doctors gave me an expiration date. Doctors informed my body is expiring, slowly. I linger, not so much in pain, but prolongation and loneliness. I vowed never to be the guy who ingested six medications. Yet here I am. Major illness and cervical injuries to the C4 and C5 vertebrae leaves walking nearly impossible. Medications control everything from dysphagia, cardiac problems, high-blood pressure, chest pain, paraplegia and vertigo from inadequate blood flow.
In life, the body doesn’t always follow best-laid plans. Having made my living in hospitals since 2008, the variance between living fully and tragically collided daily. One day, you’re full of life. The next day, you must learn a new normal, one requiring every ounce of soul. And that newer pathway often leads to mental decline and frailty. Yes there are some joys, but for most, the declining body saps of everything.
Bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel noted that living too long is a loss. His picture of living past 75 wasn’t pretty – no skydiving, no horseback riding and endless commercials reinforce cholesterol medications and Viagra cannot rejuvenate youth.
I cannot even envision 75. At 56, I don’t ask for anything but dignity. I’ve put aside any desire to live longer. None can cure aging. Still, for the time remaining, I want to live in the real world, to accept the year head on, valuing those around me. I want to love once more, lie in someone arms and embrace the sweet nectar of romance. I want to experience a level of agape love never received. Can one live in love? It seems simple? Maybe too simple? Maybe not.
I understand Easter’s hope in ways many never will. It’s not about an Easter Bunny, coloring eggs or finding chocolate. In the late stage of life, we become housed and nurtured by those around us – a prisoner within a prison. Thus Easter’s real hope is prison’s destruction. Revering God’s ability to overcome fear and human boundary, leaving any willing to mercifully love God who will overcome breathing difficulties, aches, pains and of course death itself. That my friends is what Easter’s all about.
Live in love and experience the real beauty of God.