“Risen”

(updated and reposted on Escape from Averageness® every year, at Easter)

The intrepid, results-based consultant reclined into the natural seat, at the back edge of one of the dry-eddy pools, where the beach resumed its slope more steeply upward, toward the dunes.

She dug her bare feet into still-wet sand, and felt the remnant of last night’s high tide through her jeans and shirt.  It always felt good, she thought, as she rested her arms on her knees, gazed eastward, and studied the movement of sea and sky.

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Easter 2016, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

She smiled, as the morning sun, already well-above the horizon, finally emerged into what seemed the only break anywhere in the low-level rain clouds offshore, on what was a warm late-March morning in northeast Florida.

She was comfortable in her element.  A seventh-generation Floridian, she loved the waters and land of her native state.  She wished she could have seen for herself the remnant of the Cracker Florida her dad liked to tell her about – the mid-twentieth century Florida of his youth, as he would describe it:  Florida before air conditioning, interstate highways, and theme parks.

This was her routine, every year, on Easter morning.

She reached over and removed her 35mm SLR from its backpack case, switched the camera to manual, and adjusted her settings.

The resulting still-frame was a mental image, as much as a digital image.

Her thoughts went back to the pre-dawn darkness of that first Easter morning, to what the disillusioned friends and followers of the one they called Jesus of Nazareth must have been thinking.

By every rational explanation and every shred of evidence, this man of so much promise, in whom they had placed so much hope, was dead.

They had been eyewitnesses to that unquestionable death, and the effects of the torture that preceded it;  they had been witnesses to his burial, as well, and the intense security of his tomb.  She reminded herself that the term excruciating came from the Latin ex crucis, literally, “out of the cross”;  Roman crucifixions left nothing to the imagination.

For His friends and followers, this was certainly more than the physical death of one man;  for them, it was the death of all faith and hope.

Her thoughts moved to a time, not far removed from the darkness of the days following the death of Jesus, as Peter and others publicly asserted that they were the eyewitnesses to the effect of His resurrection and the actuality of His ascension.

Far from abandoning their faith and succumbing to hopelessness, they said they were willing to live their lives – to give their lives – for the lives of others, and for the faith and the hope that His crucifixion, death and resurrection gave all of them.

So it has been, that decision, she thought, for every Christian, ever since.  So it was for her.

She smiled again, and whispered.

“He is Risen”.