WARNING THIS POST IS RELIGIOUS IN NATURE!!!!
Every Easter I usually do something in the wilderness. I like to take some time out to reflect on what Jesus did on this particular weekend. I ponder his last meal with his buddies which would have been on Thursday night. I think about what he was thinking knowing it was his last meal, and his last time with his best friends. Later that night, he asked his buddies (who were clueless) to pray for him, to be there for him. He was let down- those guys were tired, it was late, and they didn't know. Kind of like a buddy falling asleep on guard duty, really dangerous stuff, we call those guys "blue falcons". Then the police came and arrested him in the middle of the night. He was then caught between two politicians, and a bunch of angry religious zealots in an illegal arrest, unlawful trial, and bum sentence (no due process of course); all night being beaten between the groups only to finally be traded for a murderer, and then sentenced to flagellation and crucifixtion. Also of note, his best friend, when accused of being his buddy, completely disassociated himself- wouldn't even claim he knew the guy. We would call that "selling out". What a night. Then after being literally torn to pieces, with no food, no water, he then carried a cross carved out of a tree to his execution site, where he was given vinegar to drink. This all happened in one night and morning. Finally, he was hung with these really long nails, they had to be close to a foot long. He finally passed away, but not without asking God to forgive his killers. Then a couple of days later, he rose from the dead!
This is what I pondered this weekend. I have often asked myself "do I really believe that a man rose from the dead?". There I said it. I also wonder if other Christians think about this. I've only been a Christian for six and a half years, so these questions are still out there every now and then. Then I also wonder if non-Christians ever consider this, not if Jesus was a good teacher and all, (I think everyone acknowledges that) but if the guy really
rose from the dead. If you really think about it, its a lot to swallow. And more importantly, what the ramifications of that question would mean. I mean if I believe a guy can come back from the dead in his own power, that's kind of crazy, maybe even a little insane. However, if He really did, then it validates all of his almost psychotic claims. But, I've once again come to the conclusion that I do indeed believe that Jesus lived, he healed the sick and the lame, and then he died, and then he rose from the dead. I believe it because my gut tells me its true. Don't get me wrong, I can put forth quite the intellectual argument for Christianity, and I believe it is a sound, logical, and relevant faith, but ultimately it still comes down to an almost primitive instinct, at least for me. That may not be enough for some, but I trust my gut. I suspect my belief also has a lot to do with hope. There is no other story I have ever heard in my life that has such hope for us, for human beings. Hope for something more. I thirst to live life, and no matter what I do I always get a sense that there is something more. That's what I've been thinking about this Easter.
So, I did all this thinking in the context of a seakayaking adventure on the outer banks of North Carolina. Bear Island specifically. I headed out at 4AM Friday morning, arrived in Swansboro, NC, at 630 and rented a kayak from an old man named Lamar. Lamar looked like something out of a Hemingway novel. He had almost cancerous bronze skin, as wrinkled as a Shar-pei
, with a skinny stature, but disproportionately large shoulders, I assumed from all his kayaking, and large, leathery hands. He was the kind of old man, that you just want to beg for him to tell you a story. I felt like a little boy in his presence. He asked me a lot of questions, and was curious as to why I was alone, I asked him a lot of questions and asked him if he's ever seen a shark. "All the time." said Lamar, "They like to come up and surface next to you, but they always go away- they're just curious you know?" Lamar continued, "but there was this one time when a big one followed me when I was a couple miles off shore... it was about twelve feet long and it kept coming up next to me, and then finally was just right behind me, fin outta the water and all! Made me really nervous, and I paddled harder than ever paddled in my life, but it finally left me alone." I was awestruck. Lamar has crossed the Arctic Northern Pacific, paddled in Wales, Australia, all over the US, seen sharks, orcas, whales, and manta rays. I felt like I was talking to a lost race of a man. We talked quite a bit, and by the end of the weekend I had an offer to come paddle with him next time in the deep, which I can't wait to do. During my paddling retreat I saw some neat stuff, most significantly, a beautiful sunrise, and sunset, and a quiet paddle in the light of the full moon. The ocean glowed. It looked like something from another planet, I was alone, and it was dark, but light at the same time. Hard to describe. Sometimes "beautiful" just isn't sufficient. I also was followed by a pack of four dolphins for an hour. That almost made me piss my pants at first, because they were so close and I thought they were sharks (I was paranoid from Lamar). I could reach out and touch them with my paddle when they first surfaced. I had packed my kayak with a tent, bag, food and water, and camped out on one of the smaller islands, there were oysters and clams everywhere, so I started a fire and shucked some oysters, and had a feast. All I did was paddle, eat, sleep, read, and paddle. It was glorious, one of those rare times in our lives. Time went a lot slower too. It was like a never ending weekend. I paddled over twenty miles and my shoulders and core are still feeling it. Alright- I could go on and on, but enough of my sap. My Easter was great, and I had to share.