“Easter is the feast of tombstones taken away, rocks rolled aside. God takes away even the hardest stones against which our hopes and expectations crash: death, sin, fear, worldliness.”

Pope Francis

When something feels out of control in my life, I try to exert control over something else completely unrelated. I can’t fix my son’s illness, so I became fixated on fixing my deck. The only problem is I can barely hang a picture, so "fixing my deck" involves calling several contractors. After several quotes that nearly gave me a heart attack, I decided that new deck furniture was much more within my control…and budget. I found a great deal on a new set complete with a dining table and a rocking chair. Our tired deck has some built-in benches, which sounds great in concept, but they really limit the overall space. While I thought I measured accurately, once my new furniture was in hand I discovered there was no way all of my purchases would fit (another confirmation general contractor is nowhere in my future career plans). I tried incorporating the benches into the dining set. Nope. I tried sliding the grill to every different corner. Nope. My wife stood at the door watching me for about 10 minutes as I tried to piece together an impossible puzzle. "Honey," she said, "Something’s got to give." A crowbar and only three potential tetanus-inducing injuries later, I had somehow removed the benches without noticeably ruining the deck. The difference of removing two minor benches turned out to be a major improvement.

As I sat enjoying my new deck setup and applying Neosporin generously, I realized I fell into the trap I so often try to help Church leaders avoid. "Just add more." If we hire more people, add new programs, create a new structure, that will surely create the space we need to do X,Y or Z. Except often, it’s not adding something else, but removing some things, perhaps things that are almost "built-in" or to which we are strongly attached that will ultimately give us the room for new life. We celebrate this Easter Season because ultimately, "Someone had to give." As we continue forward with gratitude for the Resurrection, let’s not be afraid to remove the things in our lives that are preventing us from embracing a new life in Him…even if it comes with a few splinters.

by Daniel Cellucci

April 12, 2021

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