Thursday, April 8, 2010

All Fall Down!

I spent Easter morning on my knees. This is not nearly as saintly as it sounds. My husband got up extra early to take our youngest son (who, at the last minute, asked to go to the Conference Center, for which my MIL miraculously had two extra tickets) to attend the Easter morning session.

I, on the other hand, got to enjoy the most restful Sabbath on record by staying a few extra minutes in bed, then reading and visiting with my mother-in-law, and enjoying a light breakfast. My father-in-law handed me a plastic tray and invited me to join them downstairs.

As I made my way down, my tray loaded with fresh fruit and other breakfast items, somehow my sandal caught on the carpet on the stairs. While I was able to catch myself as I tripped, avoiding a human-easter-egg roll down the stairs, I did stumble just enough to send an open carton of yogurt somersaulting all the way to the bottom, enthusiastically expelling its contents as it went. Great.

I set down my tray and went back upstairs to grab a couple of rags, noticing my ankle was a wee bit sore from the jolt. As I returned to clean up my mess, it occurred to me that it was kind of a metaphor for my life. I was convinced it was a sign that I don’t really belong there. I am not just physically clumsy, I am sometimes socially and emotionally clumsy as well. I misstep more often than I care to admit. I stumble. Step on people’s toes. I even make messes. And sometimes I hurt myself in the process.

I felt my eyes sting with tears as I surveyed the mess I’d made of my in-laws’ brand new carpet, fearing I had also inadvertently soiled a few other parts of their seemingly perfect life. I couldn’t hold back the sobs. I looked at the mess that is my life and wept for a sea of mistakes, large and small.

Then suddenly I became hyper-aware that I was kneeling. I took great comfort in the fact that the need to scrub their carpet had brought me once again to my knees. And that, too, seemed like a metaphor...and a perfect one for Easter. Because only there, on my knees, can I access the mercy to rise from my stumbles and become whole.

Heavenly Father always knew we would stumble, make mistakes, fall. Before he even made the earth, let alone these stumbling mortals, He came up with a rescue plan and enlisted His Son -- giving us a chance to fix our stumbles and clean up our messes -- the very process serving to transform us into something magnificent. He has the power to take the very worst in us, and use it to teach, to tutor, and ultimately to reshape us into the divine creatures He always knew we were capable of becoming.

As I wiped away the last traces of yogurt from their carpet, I felt a sense of renewal. I was grateful for the time spent on my knees, and the resulting paradigm shift that allowed me to remember how compassionate He is over even the most trivial of our stumbles and messes.

My mother-in-law never mentioned my fall or the mess I made. Instead, she kissed me on the cheek and told me she loved me. Sweet forgiveness...Happy Easter.