Many battles fought and many lost. Ball games, exams, negotiations, or relationships have at some point not gone the way I had planned or hoped for. With all of the preparation and planning that goes into such situations, it is hard to find personal victory, when the final circumstances miss the mark of the intended goal.
One of my most memorable moments as a child was my first home run in little league playing with an outfield wall. I will always remember how it all happened, or eventually happened I should say. There was a lot of build up internally for me that year to hit it over the fence and every time I was at bat I could picture how it would all go down, but it just wasn’t happening. Line drive off the fence, over the fence but foul, or striking out, eventually it just felt like I could do anything, but get that first home run to go over the wall.
Half way through the season my dad saw my frustration (we are an emotional pair). Waiting in the on deck circle he called me over to the fence as he was standing by the bleachers and he told me this was it. He told me I was going to hit a home run and he was going to go into left field and catch the ball as it went over the fence. And you know what, that’s exactly what happened, except he didn’t catch it. The ball went over his head and I remember him chasing after it as I was rounding first.
Emotionally, I still run on high when I think of this story. It’s not what I did necessarily, but the joy and love I feel that my father has for me when I remember it. Conversely, I feel emotionally drained and heartbroken when I remember my failures. I feel heartbroken when I think of the pain and suffering I have caused my mother, my father and all of those who love me. During periods in my life I have done things to give them so much pain and suffering and I can never change that.
Life often doesn’t go as we imagine it. This is mostly because failures aren’t a part of our plans. This in turn has us think that when we do fail, we need to “make it up”, but this is not at all natural in the eyes of God. These failures in our eyes are under his watch and a part of his bigger plan. He doesn’t want us to “make it up” sort of speak; he wants us to know his love for us and share that with others. His love for us is at a climax when he died on the cross.
Life is not about making things up or changing the past. It is about living everyday in a way that pleases God. It’s about treating all people as our brothers and sisters as if we are interacting with God, because his creation is in all of us. Living for today in today and excepting that we are not omnipresent and omnipotent. And this is the realization I believe I had when my dad spoke to me before stepping up to the plate that afternoon. By him telling me that in that moment it was going to happen, I forgot all my previous at bats and just went and took a cut.
Similarly, my parent’s words (or lack there of) when it comes to my failures help me live in the moment today. Incidentally, I still often dwell on the past, but this is in error. This is rejecting the Easter story. This is rejecting that God rose from the dead, so that we too could rise from our past failures and share in Gods glory.
It is easier to find personal victory or Gods victory in today when you’re not dealing with the past. In fact it is necessary to put things behind you in order to effectively deal with today and be in moment and with the people that you are in contact with. Excepting the roles we are playing in the moment and making what seems like small works sometimes extraordinary is only possible in conversation and contact with God.
This brings me to my take on the Easter message this year. When I was reading the Easter story this week and crossed over the passages of the soldiers that mocked Jesus as he was hanging on the cross, I imagined what if the story had ended right there. What if this is all we saw or knew. What if there was no Easter and no rising from the grave.
Known to the unbelievers of that day this is the end. The end for them is the spilling of blood for one man, not all. The end to the unbeliever is darkness and self-centeredness. This is the same darkness that dwelling on the past can bring into our lives today. By living in the past we are falling short of believing that God died for our sins and rose from the dead.
To bring light into our lives as well as others we must except that the past is a part of Gods plan. By accepting the past and living today for God, in the moment, we are following the path of Jesus’s final words on Earth, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”