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Small Wonders: Grace. It’s what’s for supper.

He was pretty good up there yesterday.

But to be honest, I don’t know what he was thinking. I can’t imagine what would make a man do that. And for what?


Now he’s dead, and he’s left others to piece it together. Most haven’t done such a good job.

A legal execution. Some called it murder. But he didn’t even put up a fight. That’s what makes it so strange. Baseless charges, most agree, and he let them do that to him as if there was no other way.


All that work helping and feeding and lifting up others, and faced with his own demise, he wouldn’t even help himself. He said he could move mountains, but he wouldn’t even come down off that tree when the time came.

Why would a man do such a thing?

"…weep for yourselves and for your children,” they heard him say. “My kingdom is not from here.”

What the hell does that mean?


He said it was for us, that he died for us. But that just doesn’t make sense. I didn’t ask him to do it. Hell, I didn’t even know the guy. What a stupid thing to do for someone he doesn’t even know.

I wasn’t dying. We weren’t in any danger; didn’t need saving from anything.

Why did he think his single, tiny, meaningless death in the vast expanse of human history would have any impact on my life? Or yours?

It just doesn’t add up.


If I thought for a second his life and death would in some way make my life better or more meaningful, well, I don’t know that I could get my mind around that.

I don’t deserve anyone to die for me. My life’s no more important or sacred than anyone else’s. Probably less. Not that I’m a terrible person, but I’d hate to think a good man would give his life to save mine; to show me a better way to live and give me hope for something greater when we finally leave this rock.

I’ve made mistakes, let people down, thought of myself when I should have been thinking of others. Been cruel when I should have been kind, cowardly when I should have been brave, deceitful when I should have been honest. I’ve said things I shouldn’t have and remained silent when I should have spoken up.

Asked if I knew him, I might even have denied it to save myself. I heard one of his friends did that. That’s what a normal person does to save himself. Clearly, he was not a normal person.

He was a damned fool, the likes of which the world hasn’t seen before or since.

Or, maybe so damned foolish, he may just have been on to something.

Maybe so selfless and caring and loving that a guy like me couldn’t understand why a guy like him would do that. So pure and purely good that this was the only way he could get through to us. And since we’re so self-absorbed, we had no idea what true selflessness looked and sounded like. So mired in our own woeful sorrows, distractions, vanities, greed and apathy, we refused to even consider what he was saying.

We often say that we’d die for someone we loved. But would we? In the heat of the moment, would you throw yourself in front of that oncoming train and take the place of someone you loved? Would you do it for a stranger?

He did.

Hard to believe.

With the world full of more fools than saints, it’s easy to believe he was the former. But if there are that many raving lunatics in the history of man, it stands to reason that there would be at least one who was the complete opposite.

We’re so burdened by our own perception of the way things should be, so trapped in these robes of flesh and all the encumbrances that go along with it, that we’re unable to accept a gift with no strings attached.

A gift that cannot be earned, deserved or gotten, but only given.

And when he said he did it for us, something tells me he meant everyone. Every party, persuasion and class. Every creed, color and denomination. The abandoned and the blessed; tax payers and cheats; gun advocates, peace advocates. Gay, straight and undeclared.

He said that. Not your parents, politicians, pundits, a preacher in Topeka or down the street. So don’t be fooled.

It’s called grace. And it’s what’s for supper.

Let’s hope he has a better day tomorrow.


PATRICK CANEDAY can be reached at