As a 5 year old, every new day was just another chance to be someone awesome. One day, I’d be Wolverine and any pretend bad guy would rue the day he came within claw’s length. The next, I’d be Chuck Finley of the California Angels and the imagined crowds would roar as my fastball blew by Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas for the pennant-winning strikeout. Yeah, that was the life. Even Shakespeare would admit he got it wrong: the world is only an oyster to kids still young enough to pretend.
One such day, I was playing in the shallow end of my grandma’s pool, this time pretending to be Superman, saving the world from Lex Luther’s evil machinations. My little sister Jenna and I took swimming lessons from an evil, evil lady, who would dunk any child at any moment for any reason. No one, not even the parents, left a swimming lesson tear-free.
Anyway, at the time of my Superman heroics, Jenna was 2 years old and had already been dunked so much that she couldn’t swim very well yet. I stepped out of the pool just as she was waddle-running from one end of the pool over to the other. Suddenly, running too close to the edge, she tumbled into the deep end of the pool. Flailing her arms, she was helpless and began to sink.
My mom was sitting in a chair near the pool. As I was closer, she shouted that I help my sister as she came running toward us. This wasn’t pretend anymore. This was real.
I jumped in and swam as deep as my little body would go. Once I was underneath her, I used all my might to push her up toward the surface. By now, my mom had arrived and she leaned over the edge of the pool with her arm outstretched into the water. I had pushed Jenna just high enough for my mom to yank her out of the treacherous waters and into a big, big hug.
You better believe I felt like Superman.
Years later, and especially on Easter Sundays like today, I can’t help but reflect on what this story communicates about the Savior Jesus Christ. Each of us are in this treacherous pool called life, and for many different reasons, we’re sinking. No matter if it’s heartbreak, sin, disease, loneliness, poverty, or whatever else, none of us are truly prepared to handle life’s curveballs, so no matter how hard we flail our arms, we’ll all start sinking sooner or later. But our older brother Jesus Christ dove deep into these treacherous waters 2 thousand years ago. He “descended below all things” so that he might push our sinking selves toward the surface, where our Heavenly Father is waiting with arms outstretched. Jesus pushes us just high enough for our Heavenly Father to yank us out of these treacherous waters and into his big, big embrace.
This Easter Sunday, let us all rejoice that the tomb of our Lord is empty.