On resolutions. [I blame the Instagrammers.]

I woke up on the 1st, and in a fit of unbridled optimism and chutzpah, decided to quit eating sugar for the month of January. Now, I want to be very clear that in keeping with all of my food related choices, this was not pre-planned and was based solely on the fact that floppy-hatted inspirational Instagrammers schilling essential oils and over-the-knee boots were doing it. Joining the masses giving up sugar made me feel deeply virtuous and just SEEMED like a marvelous idea.

I should tell you that I once attempted Whole30. I made it Whole7, at which point Kellan told me I was acting like the Blair Witch and to please for the love of God eat a dinner roll.

I digress.

Now, I acknowledge that it’s out of vogue to crash-diet in January. As a society, we’re supposed to have evolved past the nonsense of temporary food vows in favor of year-round healthy lifestyles and body positivity. Unfortunately, I have not evolved past couch-butt and a deep abiding love for chicken nuggets made from factory run-off meat slurry so HERE WE ARE.

The first four hours were incredible—I felt like I could CONTROL THE UNIVERSE WITH MY MIND. Beaming like I’d just invented fire, I informed Kellan of my plan. Ever the supportive partner, he instantaneously declared that I wouldn’t make it three days. My alleged husband then proceeded to eat an entire sleeve of Oreos in front of me and the whole thing was so viscerally devastating that I had to go lie down.

I logged onto Twitter where CNN had just published an article titled “Why dieting is so much harder than it looks.” TALK TO ME CNN.

I am just a girl. Standing in front of a mirror. Trying not to look like Miss Trunchbull from Matilda.

It’s day three. Kellan got home from work while I was mentally composing my last will and testament, and sweetly asked how I was doing. I  looked up and was all IF THOSE IDIOT INSTAGRAMMERS POST ONE MORE PICTURE LOOKING DELIGHTEDLY AT THEIR GREEN SMOOTHIES I SWEAR I AM GOING TO GO SCREAM ADELE SONGS AT THE NEIGHBORS DOG.

Babe. Why are you still doing this?

BECAUSE WE ARE LIKELY T MINUS NOT A LOT OF DAYS UNTIL TRUMP STARTS A NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST AT WHICH POINT I CAN’T SLAUGHTER OTHER PEOPLE OVER IODINE TABLETS IN OUR UNDERGROUND FILTRATION BUNKER IF I MOVE LIKE A HUMAN SLOPPY JOE.

Twenty eight days to go. The whole thing feels very much like attempting to find a contact lens in a pool—possible, but just barely. If you need me, I’ll just be weeping into my blueberries, preparing to survive in the new world order.

How about you—did the Instagrammers get you, too?

Jesus Raged.

When someone that you fiercely love dies, the calendar becomes a minefield. You learn to clumsily tiptoe around explosions of grief, shattered again and again as you unearth new depths of loss. You grit your teeth and lurch forward as you absorb the splitting ache of birthdays and Christmas mornings and family pictures with one missing face. You get out of bed and pretend that you haven’t been sliced open and hollowed out as maddeningly, inexplicably, the world spins on even when your little brother isn’t there to blow out 25 birthday candles. You drive your car and walk into meetings and send emails as though life as you once knew it hasn’t burned to ashes around you.

In John 11, Mary’s world burns down. Her brother dies, and she collapses at the feet of Jesus heaving with visceral, shuddering sobs. I close my eyes, and I can hear her choke out her question—where were you? If you’d been here, He’d still be alive. She’d watched Lazarus fall sick, watched his skin turn pale and translucent and his face grow gaunt. She’d held the midnight watch as he gasped for breath—and she’d KNOWN that Jesus could save him. She’d been certain of it—her face fierce with belief, she’d clenched her brother’s hand tightly and told him hang on, Jesus is coming. But, Jesus hadn’t come. Ragged and desperate, perhaps she’d cradled her brother’s face as took one, final, rasping breath—screaming for a Jesus that was nowhere in sight.

I’ve been there.

Jesus comes too late. Lazarus isn’t just gone—he’s been buried. Mary collapses under the trauma and grief of watching her brother die, of kissing his cheek one last time and watching neighbors carry his lifeless body into a waiting tomb. She stares up at Jesus and says precisely what I would have said: you could have stopped it. You could have done something. You could have made him better—you could have prevented all of this but YOU WEREN’T HERE. You weren’t here. You weren’t here.

She collapses under the impossible weight of it, at the feet of the One who could have healed her brother with a word.

I’ve read the story a thousand times, but until recently, I’d missed what has become inexpressibly dear to me.

As it turns out, our English translation of the original text is pale and anemic—a black and white recounting of a technicolor scene. I’ve always known that Jesus wept–but I had no idea he’d also raged.

The text tells us that when Jesus saw Mary collapse, he was “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” But the original Greek word there actually means “to quake with rage.” Jesus stares down at Mary and He’s livid. In verse 38, as Jesus walks toward the tomb we read that He was “deeply moved”—but the original Greek word actually means “to roar or snort with anger, like a lion or bull.” Tim Keller tells us that the best translation here would be, “Bellowing with anger, He came to the tomb.”

Bellowing. Jesus is INCENSED. He’s so furious that he’s physically shaking. His nostrils are flaring and He’s roaring out with rage—thundering at the entrance to the tomb. Crying out with the heartbroken sisters.

There aren’t words for how deeply this makes me love him–how much his rage and grief endear Jesus to me. He is not removed or callous or numb—he is as close as their breath, shouldering the splitting ache with them.

Jesus isn’t angry with Mary or the other mourners—he’s enraged with death itself. He despises it. He’s enraged by the decay that sin has wrought on the world, wrought on the brokenhearted sisters he dearly loves. Every fiber of his being LOATHES death—and he’s ready to lay down his very life to undo it.

Today would have been my little brother’s 25th birthday. Jesus hates Ian’s death with me—he aches with me–but more than that, Jesus died so that in the midst of grief I could cling to hope, knowing full well that death is not the end of the story for any who call him Lord.

Happy birthday, baby brother. I miss you so much–and I can’t wait to see you again.

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