Friday, March 30, 2018

Easter 2018



Easter 2018

  I’m sure I’m not the only who noticed that Easter and April Fool’s day fall on the same day this year. So in the spirit of the two days coming together, as it were, I’ve concocted something a bit different for this year’s contribution. It’s part whimsy, part nonsense and maybe a part … worth pondering. I’ve entitled this bit of  “word – processing” “Interview with The Easter Bunny” or “Session at Pete’s Hutch”. (With a nod to Henry Mancini)
               Scene – A well appointed study, with all the accoutrements that befits a successful individual -- Nothing shabby about these surroundings, to be sure. My interview subject is seated behind the large, impressive solid mahogany desk. Well dressed in his casual best, smoking a pipe, very much at home in this setting – almost reminding one of a kind of  … (wait for it) “Playboy” bunny, if you will. (Or maybe not.)
         
         Mr.Gee – So, Mister Cottontail or would you rather I address you as the Easter Bunny.
         Peter – You can just call me Pete – no need for formalities when I’m not out on a gig.
        Mr.Gee – Okay, Pete. Tell me, what’s it like to be the Easter Bunny. To have kids all excited about seeing you come around every year – maybe even leave an Easter egg or two.
         Peter – I’ll tell you, the kids are the best part of the job. (Pause) Well that and all the benefits I get from folks like Hallmark, Whitman candies, Hershey – you know the ones that I endorse year after year. I didn’t buy this hutch with a bushel full of carrots, I’ll tell you that.
         Mr.Gee – Yes, I can see you’ve done quite well for yourself.
         Peter – Yes, but not nearly as well as my cousin, Eric. Man, he struck it rich when they decided to use him as the mascot for a certain magazine. But let’s not talk about that. (Leans down to whisper) After all I’m sure some of your readers might care to “go there”. Know I mean?
           Mr.Gee – Yes, Pete, I do. And I appreciate your sensitivity to such things. Speaking of sensitivity, I need to bring up something that hope is not a sore spot.
          Peter – A sore spot?
          Me --  Well I’m talking about the rivalry between you and you know who?
          Peter – You mean Bugs?
          Me – No, I’m not talking about Bugs Bunny. I was referring to … um, Jesus.
         Peter (Reacts) Jesus Christ? You think we’re rivals, do you? Well, pal let me set you straight on that right now. WE ARE NOT RIVALS.
         Me – Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you though I did warn you it might be a sore spot.
          Peter – Oh, I’m not sore. I’m just dumbfounded how anyone could consider us, would consider us rivals. I’m at best a fun distraction for kids mostly – playful, entertaining and some might say I’m cute. But Jesus … (long pause) Jesus is much more than that. (Leans back in his chair) Listen most of the guys that know me would say I’m not much of religious type but come on, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Jesus did something no else had ever done before, will ever do or can ever do.
         Me – You’re talking about coming back from the dead.
         Peter – Exactly. No one but no one has every done that before – because no one else can.
         Me – Well, Mr. Cotton … I mean, Pete, how is it that you’re as prominent in some people’s mind as Jesus is when it comes to Easter.
         Pete Okay, I’ll try and answer that as briefly as I can since I don’t want to bore you with history – I don’t have time for that anyway but here’s a crash course in the origins  of how I came to be associated with Easter.     
            It started back in ancient times with a pagan holiday and folks paying tribute to the goddess of spring. They felt led to set aside a season to celebrate this time when new growth happened- in other words a time to celebrate fertility. Well we rabbits have been identified with that sort of thing for while now and so it was only natural later on that they chose to use my tribe as a symbol. Later after church decided to use that same pagan day to recognize the resurrection of Jesus my ancestors sort came along as part of the package. And we’ve been a part of that particular season ever since.
          Mr. Gee – Yes, I know that the same sort of scenario has been played out when it comes to Christmas.
           Peter – Same thing. Pagan holiday, that’s a big deal, the church comes along and says let’s choose that day to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Saint Nicholas becomes identified with the season and the birth of Jesus winds up getting lost in all the hoopla. Mr. C and I have spent many evening talking about this. But hey, it’s a money maker (shrugs his shoulders) whatcaha gonna do. Folks seem to have a way of making the significant insignificant and vice versa. Of course I can’t complain, I’ve done alright by it.
          Mr. Gee – Indeed you have. Anything else you’d like to add?
           Peter – Only this – I’m all about pretending. All about imagination and fantasy – about wishful thinking, as it were. Jesus is not about any of that. To get the two of us mixed up is … Hare-brained (winks) if you know what I mean.
          Mr. Gee – I do. Thanks for your time, Pete.
           Peter – You’re welcome.

             Soon it will be Easter Sunday – Resurrection or Foolishness? You get a very clearly defined opportunity to emphasize one or the other this Sunday—which may well be like a kind of living parable, I think. This kind of dividing line puts me in mind of an old quote I remember, which seems appropo’ this year and it goes something like this “I’m a fool for Christ, who’s fool are you?” I’d say that sort of goes along with Dylan’s song “You Gotta Serve Somebody”. Indeed we do. Resurrection – faith or fairytale. It’s always up to us to decide.
          
Happy Easter
                                                          
George Gagliardi



Tuesday, December 12, 2017




Christmas 2017

  This past year has been good, overall, but there’s been one too many trips to the ER for my taste. But thank God, literally, I’m still here and those issues apparently are resolved – stay tuned for further developments. (Like I could do something about it!)
    There’s been a lot of music, merriment and adventures with plenty of travel opportunities in the mix for me since the last Christmas epistle. The players in this saga I call my life are much the same as last year but of course there are some who are no longer here to visit with – I miss them, I miss being able to call them up for a “chat and chew” and I miss them being here in my life.
 Not inclined to go into a lot of specifics about the who and where, etc of these past twelve months  but suffice it to say my life continues to be a journey of blessings and challenges – of joys and sorrows – in other words being fully alive to all that there is to this business of living. I hope you can say the same.
  Here’s this year’s contribution …

Are You Missing Christmas?
   The setting – Christmas Eve, Somewhere USA, a busy shopping mall, and there just outside the revolving doors of a department store a young man strums his guitar. He’s in his mid to late 30’s, bearded, long hair but far from scruffy – a kind of throwback to the hippies of the late 60’s. He starts to sing …
Let me ask you a question
Now take your time with your reply
Are you missing Christmas?
Have you let it pass you by?

  About that time a middle aged man, carrying two bulging shopping bags comes out of the store. He’s almost to the curb when one of the bags splits open, spilling all the wrapped gifts on the sidewalk.
  Those expletive, expletive, expletive (fill in the curse words of your choice) bags aren’t worth a flying expletive. If they’re gonna sell you all this crap then they should make bags sturdy enough to hold it”. Stooping to pick up the gifts he continues to grimace and mutter.
   Having put down his guitar, the young man walks over to the disgruntled shopper, “Can I help you with those?”
    The man looks up with a scowl but upon seeing the sincere smile simply says, “Yeah, why not. I can’t quite manage this by myself. Guess I’ll have to go back into the exple …” Something stops him from continuing his tirade. Later on he would wonder what it was.
   “Oh, you don’t have to do that, unless you want to. I can help you carry these to your car.”
     Suspicion starts to creep into the shopper’s eyes. And he thinks “Uh, oh, better watch out this could be some kind of con or a set up or a … Then upon looking harder at this young hippie he reconsiders his objections. “Hell, he says to himself, I’m an ex-Marine I could take this kid down if I had to. Might as well take help where I can get it”.
   “Okay, I can use an extra pair of hands. I have to warn you though the car is miles away. It was the only parking place I could find”.
  The young man grins , “Not to worry, I’ve been standing in this one place so long, I can use the exercise.”
   So they start out across the crowded parking lot, dodging holiday drivers, frantically trying to get some last minute shopping done. There’s not much conversation on the way. Finally they approach the shopper’s SUV.
   “Well, here we are. I warned you it was a long way over here.”
    “That’s okay.” As he hands the last of the gifts to the shopper, he speaks “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
      The shopper looks at him and thinks -- “Oh, no, here it comes he’s going to ask for money. Well, he did help me with my stuff so I guess a couple of bucks won’t hurt. After all it is Christmas”.
    “Go ahead, ask away”.
      “Are you missing Christmas?”
       “What?” He paused. “If you mean would I miss Christmas if it went away then the answer is no. I’ve had it with all the hustle and bustle – trying to find a parking place, spending money I don’t have on gifts people don’t appreciate or need. And for what – just because it’s what we’re supposed to do every year?  Same stupid sappy Christmas songs, same craze to have a sale on everything to get people to come out. Worse than all that is that it now starts the day after Hallowe’en, or so it seems to me. Me, miss Christmas? – not much I wouldn’t”.
    The young man looked at the shopper with sadness in his eyes. “I guess I have my answer though I’m always hoping to hear something different but I rarely do.”
     The shopper walked around to get into the driver’s seat. “Now let me ask you a question. Why did you want to know?”
     He lowered his eyes and shook his head. “I keep hoping people will remember whose birthday it is and what the holiday is supposed to be about.”
     The shopper, paused before he spoke … “Well, I’m not really a very religious man but then again neither are many of my friends. I think that part of Christmas disappeared a long time ago. It’s all about shopping and Santa Claus and all that.” He took a long look into the face of the young man.
“Why should you care whose birthday it is?”
  He walked over to the where the shopper stood and without ceremony simply held his face in his hands and said “Because it’s mine.” And with that brief declaration he vanished.
   Stunned, this foul-mouthed, middle-aged ex-Marine got into his car and in a kind of almost drunken stupor drove home. What had just happened? What did it mean? Who was that young man, was he …? He let the thought trail off because the answer was too preposterous to consider. And yet …
    This encounter really happened and from now on, at least at Christmas time, he would remember it – and maybe even remember whose birthday it is.
     A fanciful tale, to be sure, but the question is real for all of us “Are We Missing Christmas?” Only your heart and mine, know the answer to that.
 
Happy Birthday Jesus (or if you prefer, Merry Christmas)

George Gagliardi, December, 2017



Christmas 2017

  This past year has been good, overall, but there’s been one too many trips to the ER for my taste. But thank God, literally, I’m still here and those issues apparently are resolved – stay tuned for further developments. (Like I could do something about it!)
    There’s been a lot of music, merriment and adventures with plenty of travel opportunities in the mix for me since the last Christmas epistle. The players in this saga I call my life are much the same as last year but of course there are some who are no longer here to visit with – I miss them, I miss being able to call them up for a “chat and chew” and I miss them being here in my life.
 Not inclined to go into a lot of specifics about the who and where, etc of these past twelve months  but suffice it to say my life continues to be a journey of blessings and challenges – of joys and sorrows – in other words being fully alive to all that there is to this business of living. I hope you can say the same.
  Here’s this year’s contribution …

Are You Missing Christmas?
   The setting – Christmas Eve, Somewhere USA, a busy shopping mall, and there just outside the revolving doors of a department store a young man strums his guitar. He’s in his mid to late 30’s, bearded, long hair but far from scruffy – a kind of throwback to the hippies of the late 60’s. He starts to sing …
Let me ask you a question
Now take your time with your reply
Are you missing Christmas?
Have you let it pass you by?

  About that time a middle aged man, carrying two bulging shopping bags comes out of the store. He’s almost to the curb when one of the bags splits open, spilling all the wrapped gifts on the sidewalk.
  Those expletive, expletive, expletive (fill in the curse words of your choice) bags aren’t worth a flying expletive. If they’re gonna sell you all this crap then they should make bags sturdy enough to hold it”. Stooping to pick up the gifts he continues to grimace and mutter.
   Having put down his guitar, the young man walks over to the disgruntled shopper, “Can I help you with those?”
    The man looks up with a scowl but upon seeing the sincere smile simply says, “Yeah, why not. I can’t quite manage this by myself. Guess I’ll have to go back into the exple …” Something stops him from continuing his tirade. Later on he would wonder what it was.
   “Oh, you don’t have to do that, unless you want to. I can help you carry these to your car.”
     Suspicion starts to creep into the shopper’s eyes. And he thinks “Uh, oh, better watch out this could be some kind of con or a set up or a … Then upon looking harder at this young hippie he reconsiders his objections. “Hell, he says to himself, I’m an ex-Marine I could take this kid down if I had to. Might as well take help where I can get it”.
   “Okay, I can use an extra pair of hands. I have to warn you though the car is miles away. It was the only parking place I could find”.
  The young man grins , “Not to worry, I’ve been standing in this one place so long, I can use the exercise.”
   So they start out across the crowded parking lot, dodging holiday drivers, frantically trying to get some last minute shopping done. There’s not much conversation on the way. Finally they approach the shopper’s SUV.
   “Well, here we are. I warned you it was a long way over here.”
    “That’s okay.” As he hands the last of the gifts to the shopper, he speaks “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
      The shopper looks at him and thinks -- “Oh, no, here it comes he’s going to ask for money. Well, he did help me with my stuff so I guess a couple of bucks won’t hurt. After all it is Christmas”.
    “Go ahead, ask away”.
      “Are you missing Christmas?”
       “What?” He paused. “If you mean would I miss Christmas if it went away then the answer is no. I’ve had it with all the hustle and bustle – trying to find a parking place, spending money I don’t have on gifts people don’t appreciate or need. And for what – just because it’s what we’re supposed to do every year?  Same stupid sappy Christmas songs, same craze to have a sale on everything to get people to come out. Worse than all that is that it now starts the day after Hallowe’en, or so it seems to me. Me, miss Christmas? – not much I wouldn’t”.
    The young man looked at the shopper with sadness in his eyes. “I guess I have my answer though I’m always hoping to hear something different but I rarely do.”
     The shopper walked around to get into the driver’s seat. “Now let me ask you a question. Why did you want to know?”
     He lowered his eyes and shook his head. “I keep hoping people will remember whose birthday it is and what the holiday is supposed to be about.”
     The shopper, paused before he spoke … “Well, I’m not really a very religious man but then again neither are many of my friends. I think that part of Christmas disappeared a long time ago. It’s all about shopping and Santa Claus and all that.” He took a long look into the face of the young man.
“Why should you care whose birthday it is?”
  He walked over to the where the shopper stood and without ceremony simply held his face in his hands and said “Because it’s mine.” And with that brief declaration he vanished.
   Stunned, this foul-mouthed, middle-aged ex-Marine got into his car and in a kind of almost drunken stupor drove home. What had just happened? What did it mean? Who was that young man, was he …? He let the thought trail off because the answer was too preposterous to consider. And yet …
    This encounter really happened and from now on, at least at Christmas time, he would remember it – and maybe even remember whose birthday it is.
     A fanciful tale, to be sure, but the question is real for all of us “Are We Missing Christmas?” Only your heart and mine, know the answer to that.
 
Happy Birthday Jesus (or if you prefer, Merry Christmas)

George Gagliardi, December, 2017

Wednesday, December 14, 2016





Christmas --- What a Difference a Year Makes?

 
 Borrowing from the Dinah Washington hit from the 50’s (“What a Difference a Day Made”) I decided I would write about how every Christmas is different and then a peculiar thing happened – rather than write it I started to experience it. What I mean by that is all of a sudden I didn’t want to write a Christmas letter this year. And that for me is a first. Now what that does is point out for me, for a variety of reasons, this isn’t like any other Christmas.
  Let me mention some reasons – I’m in a different space, a different place (both in terms of location and in terms of attitude). I now reside at Juliet Fowler Christian Home. The official address is 5810 East Side Avenue, Apartment #F310, Dallas, Texas 75214. For those who pay attention to such things, that’s my new “snail” mail address. It’s a great place and I couldn’t be happier with it. More room, very neighborly neighbors, not that far from my old place and even the Laundromat is located on my floor, a few doors down and an extra bonus – it’s cheaper to use than my old place. Plus the rent here is $3.00 less than my old place and here instead of paying for an efficiency apartment I’ve got a single bedroom. So in way, as far gifts go, God gave me my Christmas present early.
  I had been on the waiting list to get in here since this past Spring so I was elated to be able to get in at last. My church, Wilshire Baptist Church, came through like “gangbusters” when it came time to move. Glad they did because I couldn’t do much of anything besides pack some boxes.
   Which brings me to the “different place” part of my earlier statement -- I’m currently dealing with some heart issues, brought on by an incident that took place in October while I was visiting my pals, The Duckett family, who live in Townsend, MA. This event resulted in my spending five (count ‘em, five) days in Mass. General Hospital in Boston. A fine hospital to be sure, world renown but frankly I would have preferred to skip my visit there altogether. What they discovered is that my heart is not getting enough blood flow and hence not enough oxygen. No surgery possible and so I got loaded up on medication. (Now that’s the “Reader’s Digest” version).
   I’m currently undergoing treatments that require I go spend an hour a day, 5 days a week undergoing a procedure. It’s for 7 weeks and I’m half way through it. Once again Wilshire is helping in a big way. Now all of that aside, I find that this Christmas the reality of one’s mortality, the challenges of dealing with possibly an on going problem and the frustration of not being able to do things for myself that I could normally do most certainly puts me in a different “place”, say from last Christmas.
   And so a question springs to mind and it’s one well worth asking, methinks. Every Christmas is different but is it really? Is it more a question of our perspective on how we feel about Christmas in any given year or does really change from year to year?
   Let’s tackle the basics – throwing out the gifts, the gatherings, the great parties and going to be with family what do we have left. Well, first off it’s about somebody’s birthday, ostensibly. This somebody was reputed to be the Savior of the world and his name was Jesus. His coming was such a big deal that a whole multitude of angels were hired for the occasion and the lowliest (the shepherds) and most noble (Wise men) were let in on the celebration. It wasn’t much of a place to be born, if you’re supposed to be a King – a stable with smelly, dirty animals. However there was a star in the sky that was so bright it could be seen for miles and miles and miles. That’s the basics right – if you’re one who considers himself a believer in Jesus Christ. If not, then your version of Christmas is your version of Christmas and I wouldn’t presume to change your mind about such things in a single letter – not that I could. But if you’re a Christ-follower then what I’ve stated is more or less the basics when it comes to what Christmas is.
  Okay, what about that story has changed? … that’s right, nothing. It’s timeless, it’s God-blessed, it’s forever and it’s what makes Christmas, Christmas.
   So for me, I’m going to do my darnedest to hang to on to that, to let the Spirit of that envelope me, even while I may bemoan the fact that this is not way I would have preferred to feel at Christmas. And believe me, I don’t begrudge anyone who honestly is disappointed in the way they’re feeling at Christmas as compared to past Yuletide celebrations. But let’s all try and not lose sight of the fact that Christmas will always be Christmas as long we remember the story and what the story means and why it’s still worth singing about and sharing. In the meantime … cry if you need to, wish hard if you need to and even moan a bit even if you need to. It’s okay – at least to my mind – but let’s each and all of us hold on fast to the hope – a hope for peace and joy rooted in the forever truth that on that first Christmas “A Savior was born – Christ the Lord.”

Merry Christmas
George Gagliardi, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016



Question?


  What does Easter Mean to … you? (or me, for that matter). An interesting question, is it not? Of course how you answer it depends entirely on your belief, or lack of. And I believe that the source of the answer can be broken down into three categories. A – Jesus was raised from the dead. B—Jesus was not raised from the dead. C—Not sure if he was raised from the dead or not, maybe so but then again …
    (I skipped apathy because that sort of speaks for itself. If you don’t care one way or the other, then you don’t. Not a lot you can do with that. So I don’t care about that – and please note the intentional irony there.)
 So we’ll start with C – Not too much to say about that because with that sort of perspective Easter is kind of nice but not all that essential. It’s pleasant but not all that significant. Although folks who feel that way may secretly wish they could believe in the resurrection, they just can’t bring themselves to accept that as a reality.
   However don’t imagine for a moment that many of us who consider ourselves believers are completely free from doubt when it comes to the resurrection. There are still times when we have difficulty with how fantastic the whole notion is – somebody rose from the dead, really? And we’re not talking about Jesus as a zombie. Nope, he wasn’t merely undead, he was as alive as you and I are. (Depending on how alive you feel, I suppose.) So doubters take heart – I’m prone to believe that honest doubt may well be the path to discovering real faith. Or perhaps to put it another way – out of searching, wondering, wandering and questioning sometimes one can catch a glimmer of light. Remember that old spiritual – “This little light of mine” …
  Okay, on to B – Resurrection didn’t happen, it’s a trick, a myth, a scam, a … you may fill in the blank with whatever negative response you see fit. And whereas not all who espouse these thoughts are cynical, angry skeptics, some are. And you know if I believed what they believe I can see how they could get ticked off.
   “To think someone is trying to insult my intelligence, to con me, to take me for a simpleton, to “sell me a bill of goods” and expect me to swallow the whole thing just because they say it’s so – well, I’m not going to do it. Moreover they condemn me because I won’t go along with the deception. They behave in a very hateful way and won’t even bother to hear my side of things. Well, count me out.  I’ve got no use for that sort of attitude.” (By the way, neither did Jesus.)
   For the B folks Easter is, at best, Peter Rabbit, Easter egg hunts, Spring awakening (though not necessarily in Texas), maybe some pastels, pretty flowers and Irving Berlin’s hit song, “Easter Parade”.  It’s nothing much more than that. Sadly, it can’t be, really.
   Here is where I want to point out that this bit of scribbling has not been created to convince you that I’m right and you’re wrong. Nope, that’s not my job and not my purpose in laying out these particular paragraphs. If I truly am to treat you in a Christ like manner then that means allowing you to choose whether to believe or not – not brow beat you into thinking the way I want you to think. Here again – that’s not the way Jesus dealt with folks in His ministry – brow beating was not on His list of how to do things. And since he set the standard, well then …
 Now we come to the A people, people who do believe that Jesus was in fact raised from the dead on Easter morn. For us the event was real. It happened and it was/is life changing. Now I’ll pause a minute or so as to avoid going into “church speak”, lest this part sound like the “pitch” for a bargain I’m trying to get you to buy into.
   Okay, let me digress for a moment.
   When I thought about writing down the preceding paragraphs it was obvious to me that at some point I needed to answer the question for myself “What does Easter mean to me, today?” Remarkable as it may seem, this was not as easy to answer as I thought it would be – short of just giving a kind “knee jerk” reaction. And so here’s my answer to the question I started out with.
  Easter means nothing stops God from doing what He decides to do and that includes death. God has a way of bringing new life out of destruction, despite what it may look like to begin with. Anyone who saw what happened on the Cross when Jesus died would not have stood up and sung “Victory in Jesus”. Not then – but later, after the resurrection they could and would. Easter means the same God who raised Jesus from the dead can raise my spirits when their low, give me hope when it’s hard to find hope, give me a peace that really makes no sense in light of the circumstances, make me believe in the impossible because with Him impossible is just a word and most importantly help me believe that’s God’s big enough to … (fill in the blank.)
   So I’ll leave you with this to ponder –  Jesus being raised from the dead was either the greatest event in human history or it was the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the human race. You get to decide. We all do. What does Easter mean to you?

Happy Resurrection Day
George Gagliardi, March 2016



Question?


  What does Easter Mean to … you? (or me, for that matter). An interesting question, is it not? Of course how you answer it depends entirely on your belief, or lack of. And I believe that the source of the answer can be broken down into three categories. A – Jesus was raised from the dead. B—Jesus was not raised from the dead. C—Not sure if he was raised from the dead or not, maybe so but then again …
    (I skipped apathy because that sort of speaks for itself. If you don’t care one way or the other, then you don’t. Not a lot you can do with that. So I don’t care about that – and please note the intentional irony there.)
 So we’ll start with C – Not too much to say about that because with that sort of perspective Easter is kind of nice but not all that essential. It’s pleasant but not all that significant. Although folks who feel that way may secretly wish they could believe in the resurrection, they just can’t bring themselves to accept that as a reality.
   However don’t imagine for a moment that many of us who consider ourselves believers are completely free from doubt when it comes to the resurrection. There are still times when we have difficulty with how fantastic the whole notion is – somebody rose from the dead, really? And we’re not talking about Jesus as a zombie. Nope, he wasn’t merely undead, he was as alive as you and I are. (Depending on how alive you feel, I suppose.) So doubters take heart – I’m prone to believe that honest doubt may well be the path to discovering real faith. Or perhaps to put it another way – out of searching, wondering, wandering and questioning sometimes one can catch a glimmer of light. Remember that old spiritual – “This little light of mine” …
  Okay, on to B – Resurrection didn’t happen, it’s a trick, a myth, a scam, a … you may fill in the blank with whatever negative response you see fit. And whereas not all who espouse these thoughts are cynical, angry skeptics, some are. And you know if I believed what they believe I can see how they could get ticked off.
   “To think someone is trying to insult my intelligence, to con me, to take me for a simpleton, to “sell me a bill of goods” and expect me to swallow the whole thing just because they say it’s so – well, I’m not going to do it. Moreover they condemn me because I won’t go along with the deception. They behave in a very hateful way and won’t even bother to hear my side of things. Well, count me out.  I’ve got no use for that sort of attitude.” (By the way, neither did Jesus.)
   For the B folks Easter is, at best, Peter Rabbit, Easter egg hunts, Spring awakening (though not necessarily in Texas), maybe some pastels, pretty flowers and Irving Berlin’s hit song, “Easter Parade”.  It’s nothing much more than that. Sadly, it can’t be, really.
   Here is where I want to point out that this bit of scribbling has not been created to convince you that I’m right and you’re wrong. Nope, that’s not my job and not my purpose in laying out these particular paragraphs. If I truly am to treat you in a Christ like manner then that means allowing you to choose whether to believe or not – not brow beat you into thinking the way I want you to think. Here again – that’s not the way Jesus dealt with folks in His ministry – brow beating was not on His list of how to do things. And since he set the standard, well then …
 Now we come to the A people, people who do believe that Jesus was in fact raised from the dead on Easter morn. For us the event was real. It happened and it was/is life changing. Now I’ll pause a minute or so as to avoid going into “church speak”, lest this part sound like the “pitch” for a bargain I’m trying to get you to buy into.
   Okay, let me digress for a moment.
   When I thought about writing down the preceding paragraphs it was obvious to me that at some point I needed to answer the question for myself “What does Easter mean to me, today?” Remarkable as it may seem, this was not as easy to answer as I thought it would be – short of just giving a kind “knee jerk” reaction. And so here’s my answer to the question I started out with.
  Easter means nothing stops God from doing what He decides to do and that includes death. God has a way of bringing new life out of destruction, despite what it may look like to begin with. Anyone who saw what happened on the Cross when Jesus died would not have stood up and sung “Victory in Jesus”. Not then – but later, after the resurrection they could and would. Easter means the same God who raised Jesus from the dead can raise my spirits when their low, give me hope when it’s hard to find hope, give me a peace that really makes no sense in light of the circumstances, make me believe in the impossible because with Him impossible is just a word and most importantly help me believe that’s God’s big enough to … (fill in the blank.)
   So I’ll leave you with this to ponder –  Jesus being raised from the dead was either the greatest event in human history or it was the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the human race. You get to decide. We all do. What does Easter mean to you?

Happy Resurrection Day
George Gagliardi, March 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016




As Long as We’re Still Here

The Christmas season has come and gone
It’s time to sing a different song
A song I wrote, a song of hope
That I hope will bring a cup of cheer
For the coming year

Long as we’re still here
Why not live out our own dreams
Those lovely, fragile, precious things
We hold within our heart
As long as we’re still here
Why not take a leap of faith
For endless possibilities
That just might be the key
To making a brand new start
Sure I know sometimes
The past is like a shadow
An unwelcome guest
That’s hard for us to shake
Delighting in reminding us
How often we mess things up
And especially that big mistake
But the past is just that
And I say, if it’s a burden
Why carry it
Go ahead and bury it
And then move on
Long as we’re still here
Although I know it sounds cliché
Tomorrow’s still a brand new day
 Let this be a time of hope
We can live life like life really matters
As long as we’re willing to be free enough
To believe we can change through the power of love
Isn’t it worth a try this year
As long as we’re still here

George Gagliardi, December, 29, 2015