Friday, May 27, 2011

The Lazarus Experiment

I am so glad to have met so many wonderful people on line. When Kevin used to ask me why I spent so much time on line I tried to explain the thread of love that connects me with so many people, many of whom I have never met and will likely never meet face to face. At least not in this lifetime.

I have been an internet junkie since 2003, when my sister introduced me to scrapbooking once again. Since then I have found many delightful, dear and wonderful people in all corners of the world. I have friends in nearly every state of the US. I have friends in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, China, Singapore, France, Holland, England, Germany and more. I'm blessed! What wonderful instrument, the internet!

One of the things I discovered while playing with my on line friends was Facebook. Oh how I love Facebook! I can play games, connect with my relatives (some of whom I have not seen in 20 or more years!), meet new friends, explore new things and even grow. I've met some amazing people with whom I share many things in common.

Through one of these groups and friends I met a beautiful lady named Marci Negranza. We have never met face to face. We have scrapbooked together over the internet, we have shared in each others lives. One thing I can say about scrapbookers for sure is that we are, for the most part, some of the most giving and delightful people! (Why thank you, yes, I do consider myself to be one of them. *grins and giggles*.)

Marci and I are also friends on Facebook thanks to an amazing lady we will call "Groovy Deb". Marci and I have, over the last few years, followed each other's blogs (though admittedly, I seldom comment because I'm a terrible commenter), followed each other's lives through the "news feed" on Facebook, and played a lot of games. Marci has introduced me to a beautiful group of people who have begun a very special project through Facebook called "The Lazarus Experiment".

So, let me tell you about The Lazarus Experiment. As some of you know, (and anyone who read my last entry), I lost my dear husband in March. The week before Easter, I got an invitation from Marci to join this group of folks. For those of you who are unsure, Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary, was someone of whom Jesus was quite fond. He received word that Lazarus was very sick. Rather than rushing to Lazarus side, Jesus felt compelled to wait for a couple days. Upon returning to Lazarus' home, he learned that Lazarus has already passed away and had been in his tomb for four days.

Martha was quite stricken by Jesus' failure to return and help heal Lazarus. Jesus calmly explained to her, " "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me shall live, even if he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die in eternity". (John 11:25, KJV)

He then speaks with Mary, who is simply overcome by her sorrow. The Bible simply says, "Jesus wept." John 11:35, KJV

Surrounded by mourners, Jesus visits Lazarus' tomb. Over Martha's objections, Jesus has the mourners roll away the stone entrance to the tomb and prays. After his prayer, he calls out to Lazarus to come out and so, risen from the dead, Lazarus exits the tomb and is once again, very alive. While many then believed in Jesus and his claims to be the son of the Father, Almighty, others ran off to alert authorities. I'm not sure what the authorities were going to do at that point... kill Lazarus again because it was some sort of abomination? For goodness sake, people were (and are!) so quick to point out as "wrong" or somehow "illegal" that which they do not understand... (too bad our world doesn't have a healthier dose of faith).

So, now that you have the background, there begins The Lazarus Experiment. It was explained so well here. In case you don't want to click over, in a nutshell, here is what Rob says about our new journey...

Last year we began to think through how Lazarus would have felt about life after being brought back to life by Jesus. What would he have done differently? How would he see each new day? What kinds of changes would he have made?

Lazarus represents the new life that is found in Jesus Christ because of resurrection. If we've put our trust in Jesus, we have the same kind of new life Lazarus had. Sometimes we don't live like it.

So, The Lazarus Experiment is a challenge to live life with the joy, the boldness, the courage, the perspective, the reality of newness. If you are up to the challenge, choose one thing to do each day that reflects the kind of living Lazarus would have done after coming out of the tomb.

For some context and ideas, read this article about last year's experiment in Plain Truth Magazine.

So, there ya have it... in a nutshell. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that, right? Especially in the situation I'm in at the moment trying to learn daily to live without my love.

The Lazarus Experiment is more than 30 days into itself and coming down to the wire as to completing our experiment. I had to stop and ask myself some questions. Have I made any real conclusions? Have I managed to learn the things I needed to learn? Have I been receptive to learning what God wanted me to learn? Have I grown? Have I changed? Have I been able to become more of a vessel of the Lord's?

I asked the group some of my concerns. They assured me I was right on track and seemed to be truly in tune with how this experiment was to be played out. I was reassured that while my desire to find something magnanimous to end our time together, surely the point to it all was that Lazarus would have been much more apt to revel in the little things. I began to think.

What would Lazarus do? He would stop to listen to the birds singing their songs of love, joy and desire. He would have stopped to notice the little lady bug crawling idle-ly along the leaves. He would have taken a walk in the rain to feel it's soft touch on his skin. He would have laid on the floor to play with the cats and dogs. He would have noticed the distant giggles of the toddlers playing at the local day care. He would have tasted that bite of ice cream even though it wasn't on his diet. (Would he have even been ON a diet?) He would have had a bit of that delectable dessert no matter how decadent. He would have taken his children to the park and played long into the evening just to watch and play with the fireflies as they danced to their own silent musicals. He would have gone to every school play, every graduation. He would have attended every church service just to show his gratitude and love for the Lord. He would have attended every funeral just to show that there is love, and life, after death and to reassure those who were grieving. He would have talked to many and smiled to the masses. He would have reveled in every single minute of every single day.

I'm so grateful to have met these wonderful people, Marci and her pastor Ron and her amazing Lazarus friends who have shown me a better way to celebrate, to live, to love and to grow. I'm counting this experiment among my greatest joys, my greatest accomplishments, my greatest blessings.

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