*Caution: Non-medical Easter ramble ahead.*
Res ipsa loquitor: Latin phrase meaning "The thing speaks for itself."
Hey! Happy Easter! And let's just start by considering this a "Happy Easter" in the general sense. Not in the "I'm of Christian faith and you're not" sense. So yeah. Happy Easter!
Look. Before somebody gets mad at me, NO this doesn't mean that I am trivializing the importance of this, our holiest of holidays. Note that I said "our" and not "your." Unless you're new here, you probably know already that I am indeed of Christian faith.
No. This does not mean I have any fire or brimstone to throw at you, so relax. That's just not my thing (or my interpretation of my own faith.)
You know? I see (religious) faith as a very personal thing. But not "personal" in the sense that it's secret or off-limits. . . but instead in a way that's my own responsibility to understand and live without suffocating others or making them uncomfortable. Yes, I'll talk about it but carefully and respectfully --kind of like my political beliefs and such. Mmmm hmmm. Like that.
Where was I? Oh Easter. Easter in the non-general sense is important to me. For me, it's a time of quiet reflection and counting blessings. Even if I'm hustling and bustling to and fro to early morning Son-rise service or whatever it is that day, at some point I always escape to some serene place in my mind to be in the presence of all that frames my personal relationship with my faith.
This year, my quiet time led me to that photograph above. A beautiful sunrise over the ocean is a perfect reminder of all that Easter Sunday and the days leading toward it mean to me. A soft light that welcomes me but doesn't feel blinding or oppressive. This is how I see my personal relationship with God and my faith.
Especially at Easter.
Right before Jesus prepared to leave the disciples, He told them that He'd be going to a place they couldn't follow Him to. Then, as if that weren't enough, He stated what He described as a "new commandment." And it was rather simple, and frankly, not so new-sounding at all:
"Love one another."
Of course the disciple-dudes first balked at this whole departure announcement and this not-so-new-under-the-sun sounding commandment of His. I bet they were all like, "Love one another? How whack is that? What about click your heels three times before entering all rooms that have running water or balance on one foot every single time you pray for now on? Love one another? That's all? Plus, how will people know we're down with you if we can't go with you? Man, it's VIP being with you!"
So yes, they balked. And when they did balk, Jesus went on to let them know that they didn't have to be physically with Him to be with Him.
So Jesus goes on and says: "Look, y'all. If you want people to know you're down with Me, no need for a 'Jesus is my Homeboy' t-shirt or a giant flaming bible. All I mostly want y'all to do is to love one another. Or better yet, just treat people as I have treated y'all."
Mmm hmmm. Sure did.
Okay, maybe Jesus didn't say "y'all" but I do think if He'd been somewhere in the Southern United States He wouldn't have been above it. And see, that's my personal take on it from my personal relationship which, now that I think of it, makes me fully okay with my Miss Manning Real Talk Translation of more than just this scripture.
Yep. (I bet my translation would be quite an easy read now that I think of it.)
Anyways. Just like that sunrise and it's pleasing glow, I want my light to shine, too. I guess what I want to do is mostly remember what Jesus sprung on the disciple-dudes after that last supper by letting my light shine. I want it to shine bright and warm -- illuminating things around me and drawing things closer but not blinding them or forcing them to shield their eyes from it being too intense. Yeah. A nice light. . . . soft enough for someone to see it and not be afraid, especially in the darkest places. And also sustained so as not to fully confuse those who see if from far away.
Which reminds me: strobe lights have always kind of given me headaches. Just stick that idea on a post-it note and come back to it later.
Pleasing, dependable, and sustained light. Kind of like that sunrise.
It's unfortunate that so many people spend more time focusing on what others are doing than just loving people for who they are. I admit, I have my days, too. Pointing out splinters in eyeballs and ignoring the plank in my own. But you know? Then I remember--if I just stay in my own lane, remember that new-ish commandment, and work on strengthening my personal relationship with God, that takes up so much time that I don't have any opportunity to go judging someone else.
Which reminds me: I turned on a television and heard someone angrily fussing about the Easter bunny and how awful it is that a CHURCH somewhere actually had sponsored AN EASTER EGG hunt. Because CLEARLY Easter is not EVEN about a mythical bunny or pastel-colored dyed eggs!
Oh relax already.
See? This is where I recoil into my personal relationship again. Chatting the Lord up in the very way I chat most highly familiar folks up. (Some of my best chat-ups are in my car, but I digress.) So I say: "Seriously? Like really Lord? Dying eggs and chocolate bunnies? This cannot be what You are worried about, is it? Wouldn't you rather see us teaching our kids about accepting people or rather imagine us thinking of ways to love one another? I just have to believe that's where You're at with this."
Plus, I was on my iPad in the passenger seat as the BHE drove us home from the beach and during that time, I read my friend Elizabeth's recent blog posts surrounding Easter. And on those posts she was showing photos of her family dying eggs and even today talked about how complicated faith can leave us all feeling sometimes. This, I liked thinking about more than whether or not the Easter bunny is the devil or if dyed eggs are little orbs of blasphemy. Plus, I know for certain that you would be hard-pressed to find a person more ferociously loving than Elizabeth -- even on your very best day in a very gigantic room full of ferociously loving people.
Oh, what was my point? Other than the fact that Elizabeth is rad, it's that if SHE is dying eggs at Easter time then I at least feel fine about it on my end. Also my friend Kris R. who lives in Uganda gave her kids Easter baskets all the way in Africa today and she is a Faith-sister of mine who teaches me constantly about what it means to have a personal yet imperfect relationship with God.
So to me, I guess Easter is about love and grace and mercy. It's about keeping promises and making sacrifices without a whole lot of grumbling and lip. It's less about words than it is about deeds which is really what I think Jesus was trying to tell those worried disciples that day.
"Dudes! Res ipsa loquitor!"
And okay, I doubt Jesus addressed the disciples as "dudes" or especially "dudes" coupled with some Latin but just like that Latin phrase means -- The thing speaks for itself. In other words, sometimes, you just have to be quiet and let the thing(s you do) speak for themselves. And if moving a ginormous boulder out of the way of a tomb doesn't make talk cheap, I don't know what does.
Kind of like love. You can talk and talk but if your actions don't say love? Forget it. You can swear up and down to patients that you care, but if your actions say rushed and don't-give-a-damn, forget about them thinking that, too. And forget anyone buying any part of what it is you call yourself representing--faith-wise or caregiver-wise.
Yes. I am a follower of Christian faith. I am a lover of people. I am a lover of life. I am a lover of God. And I am a work in progress. . . .trying my best to perfect my own light by letting my actions and heart speak for me.
Being a Grady doctor is just one part of that. Being a mother and a wife is another. But all of those parts -- every last one -- require grace and mercy, don't they? Not just from me but from everyone else, too. They also require making a few sacrifices without a whole lot of grumbling or lip.
Yes. My faith is personal. But, no, it isn't a secret. And even with personal differences there's room for us all here. At least, I think that would have been Jesus' take on it then and now.
So today, I am celebrating sunrises and a Son rising. And no, I didn't get a chance to dye eggs, hide eggs or buy chocolate, but I'm okay with those who did. I sure am.
Maybe you aren't celebrating Easter like me or even at all. And that's cool, too. As for me? I am celebrating Easter. As far as my personal faith-relationship goes, what that really means is that I'm celebrating love -- and I hope and pray that, on most days, the thing speaks for itself.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."
~ John 13:34 - New International Version
"Real talk -- I need y'all to quit tripping and do this simple thing I'm about to tell y'all: Hold each other down! See how I treated y'all and held y'all down even though you were raggedy tax collectors, murderers and total traitors? Yeah, Peter. I'm talking to you.! I'm saying. This is how I expect y'all to treat everybody. For real."
~ John 13:34 - Miss Manning Real Talk Version
Now playing on my mental iPod. . . . .perfect and beautiful.