Saturday, March 26, 2016

While decorating eggs...

Theories abound as to why we color eggs every Easter. Mary, the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene are both credited with sparking the tradition along with the royals of England and the Orthodox Catholic church. Some people dye their eggs simply for the crafty fun of it while others use it as a teaching moment to share the good news of the resurrection. How a colored hard boiled egg displays Christ's rise from the dead is beyond me, but who am I to squelch the proclaiming of the Gospel? If a cooked egg does the trick then, by all means, get the water boiling.
As a child growing up I never contemplated the deep meaning of the traditional egg dying practice. Every Easter Mom boiled a dozen eggs and filled an assortment of bowls with pastel-hued dyes. I popped out the cardboard circles from the packaged egg-coloring kit purchased from the grocery store and set out spoons to assist in the dipping of the white egg into the colored water. I never was very skilled at using the flimsy egg dipper included in the kit's package.
After changing into a "messy" shirt destined to be splattered with various shades of spring, I would  sit myself at the kitchen counter ready to create a beautiful masterpiece on my white eggshell canvas. Well, "masterpiece" might be a bit of an exaggeration. Many of my attempts at originality resulted in the discovery of new hues that will never be featured on the PAAS egg coloring kit box. But I never let my lack of egg artistry deter me from enjoying the tradition. I colored as many eggs as I could get my hands on, down to the last cracked egg.
It never failed that the last egg in the bowl was always cracked. I would reach for the perfect eggs first, hoping someone else would end up with the white egg marred by the jagged grey lines, presumably the result of a hand a bit over-zealous at the initial stage of egg boiling. But the end of the bowl was an inevitable truth and the cracked egg awaited me. I never spent much time on that egg. It was already damaged goods. Sometimes I just plunked it in one bowl of bright pink water and let it sit there for an inordinately long period of time. Other experiments included multiple colors and a similar half-hearted effort. But amazingly enough, that one cracked egg always turned out beautifully. I could leave it in the water for a minute or for five and the shade would be just perfect. The crack in the shell added character to the design. The break in the surface would soak up the richness of the dyes color. The design left behind always created a visual image more pleasing than any I could have crafted by my own hand. The broken egg, once dyed and dried, was always my favorite out of the whole carton.
Isn't it funny how it is the broken that turns out most beautiful?
God uses the same design principle with me. He has broken me and let me crack so that in the end I can be more of a masterpiece. I may think that I want easy, bruise-free, crack-free living but God knows that, once painted, that kind of life won't produce stunning end results. So He brings about some bumps to let my shell split at the edges. He makes sure there are some jagged lines along my surface, leaving gaps for His goodness to seep into my heart. Every imperfection is another element of His design. Every perceived flaw a feature for His future glory.
As a young egg decorator I always thought that I wanted the perfect looking egg. As a young child of God I thought I wanted a perfectly paved life, smooth and steady, completely crack free. But I'm beginning to see things through a new set of eyes. God specializes in making brokenness utterly beautiful. He uses cracked canvases to create His greatest masterpieces.

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