As a child during the awaited Easter season, the hunt for colorful eggs left by some esoteric rabbit was always an exciting plot twist in the Resurrection of Jesus. Yet, unlike most children, I always preyed on the real eggs vs the fake ones packed full of sugar-coated candies.
I remember rummaging for as many of those hard-boiled canvases as I could find while my siblings and cousins bolted for the shiny plastic ones. Maybe it was the creation process, turning them from eggs into art, or maybe it was the treasure in finding colors that plastic-makers couldn’t touch. Whatever it was, I always found myself on the slate-grey steps of my grandmother’s porch trading my plastic eggs for the hard-boiled ones of my competitors. Later, I would take my precious cargo into the living room and sit atop a very enveloping black bean bag, peeling one after another and devouring as many as my belly would let me. Art never tasted so good.
So what was it about the real eggs vs the tantalizing sugar I could have participated in had I taken a fancy to those fake eggs?
I didn’t know it then but now I truly understand the value and the goodness of the real things in life versus the seemingly real things in life versus the not-so-real things. It sounds simple and agreeable, yet there’s so much biding for our attention, so much that enters into the rooms of our hearts and begins rearranging the furniture in there-sometimes even motivating us to toss the good pieces out. We find ourselves so quickly and so effortlessly distracted by the sugar-coated plot twists in life which usually leave us empty and sick and craving more.
I don’t know about you but I know about me and I want the real things. I want real love- the kind where I love someone more than I love myself and the other way around, where love grows beyond that “in-love” feeling into a forest of commitment and security, that even and especially on the days when I don’t feel like loving this person, I still choose to by my actions and with my words, and that I make the choice to eternally do so every single day.
I want real friendships where we truly see one another and hear one another. Where sharing the deepest, most real pockets of ourselves pulls others in and we build not just a forest but a city, a country, a world of vulnerability, of real.
I want work that I really love, that I believe in, that’s true and that propels good into the world. I want to make real art and not attempt cheap tricks to get people to like me or to win some lacking approval.
And I want a real God. One that entered my humanity, Who has endured my suffering and can empathize in my pain. One who has experienced insurmountable joy and Who shares it freely with me. One Whose patience astounds me and Whose grace overwhelms me. A God that would do anything for me and has proved that through the immeasurable sacrifice of a cross, through love. A God Who I don’t have to work to obtain love or approval from but Who unleashes it and lavishes me with it every day. A God who chooses me every single day whether I choose Him or not.
“It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Getting a sugar rush from a fleeting moment in time leaves you longing for more but sitting in the waiting room for the birth of something ever-lasting is fulfilling and makes us whole. It makes us real. Don’t settle; wait and fight for and pursue what is real.