Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 3/29/2010 [Archive]

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

By Martha Randolph Carr

There are two major holidays in the Christian faith. In no particular order, the first is Christmas and the second is Easter. If they were to be ranked according to the amount of media attention or holiday decorating Christmas would be the winner in a runaway.

The amount of glitz attached to Christmas often confuses both the celebrants of Christmas and those just observing a holiday so big the stores start pushing it somewhere in early November. It's the only religious day that can have an effective economic impact in several major countries, including the US.

However, Christmas is only the promise, which is still significant. But Easter is the promise that's kept by a sacrifice made out of unconditional love. It's the unique kind of love that has no second thought, no but, and no unless attached to it. In other words, it's a type of love that we can't fully recreate but can work toward on a daily basis.

We've been witnesses to it on a human scale the moments we've seen someone forgive when there was every reason not to, and to do it without expectations of how it would be received by the recipient or all of us watching.

That's what happened in 1994 when Nicholas Green, a seven year old from California, was murdered by bandits along an Italian road while on vacation with his parents. The father famously forgave the killers with TV cameras watching and then donated his son's organs to save seven Italian lives. At the time, organ donation was all but nonexistent in Italy but what came to be known as the Nicholas Effect inspired an entire country to change.

The effect, captured in a book of the same name by Nicholas' father, Reg Green was not simply about inspiring organ donation but the effect of witnessing compassion or forgiveness. Just seeing someone else reach out is enough to change the hearts of those who see the event.

It's the same reason why support groups are so effective when nothing else has worked. When we can see that it's possible for one, we come to understand we are capable of the same thing and we witness the transformative possibilities.

In other words, we want some of that and we see it can be done.

That's the whole point behind Easter. It was a visual sacrifice to show us that forgiveness is possible, regardless of the offense and the payoff is worth the attempts.

Change can be a tough nut for most of us, myself included. Without some kind of proof that we won't ruin everything we'd rather stick to the rut we're in where we at least know we can handle the downside.

However, we then gaze out a window, daydreaming about the life we wish we had, if only we knew how to get it.

Take this Easter as an opportunity to set out on that different path and start with a few lessons from Reg Green. First big one is to drop all analyses about what the payoff might be or how it'll look to others or what it might cost. Whatever the first steps are just do them, if only because they're the right things to do.

Second step is, bring some humility to the game plan and don't make a big deal about who's better or worse. None of that matters and is a big Petri dish for resentments of all kinds.

Last step is to take every opportunity to be of service without asking, once again, what the payoff is going to be or even if it's convenient. Just do it.

I'm not saying overdo it. There's a certain amount of grownup reasonableness that comes into it but stretch the boundaries of reasonable and show up to participate without expectations. That is the promise of Easter, fulfilled on a more personal level. Happy Easter everyone.

www.MarthaRandolphCarr.com. Email Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com.

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