Easter brings us second chances in life

Adam Milasincic

My favorite gospel singers were drunks and junkies.

Words of hope ring truer when flowing from the lips of the hopeless.

After all, that’s who the gospel is for: the broken, the lonely, the people at the bottom – folks who’ve slammed into their own limitations and realized that only hope can save them. But where does hope come from?

This Easter season, I see hope in the Gospel of Jones.

In 1999, thrice-divorced country music star George Jones thought his life was finally on track. At age 67, he had apparently conquered the alcoholism that once prompted angry fans to dub him “No-Show Jones” for skipping 54 scheduled concerts. The battle had not ended, though. In a one-time relapse, Jones downed a bottle of vodka and hopped into his Lexus. He nearly died.

Then something else happened. Jones awoke from a coma with a second chance.

“I see life in a different way,” Jones told an interviewer four years after the accident. “The way I feel like I should have seen it all my life. I feel like it’s been wasted, but there’s nothing I can do about that. I just thank God I’m still here, and the main thing is to try to get closer and closer to him.”

Jones soon released a collection of classic hymns. After failing to find happiness in money, women and the bottom of a bottle, it’s understandable that Jones would open the CD by singing “Lord, I’m tired and so weary.” It’s stunning, however, that Jones ends with the assurance that “there will be peace in the valley for me.”

The transformation of George Jones is a testament to the hope that is freely available to everyone – hope for a better day, a better life and a new beginning.

It’s the hope of Easter, the promise that even the deepest tragedy can become the highest joy. Good Friday is “good” because it set the stage for redemption. God took his own worst sorrow – the gruesome death of his son alongside a pair of two-bit thieves – and redeemed it three days later. He traded pain and blood for love and hope. Because Jesus became the King of Comebacks, we can come back too.

Easter Sunday means that Eminem’s 8-Mile soundtrack (another song on my MP3 playlist) is manifestly untrue. You get more than “one shot,” you can miss your chance to blow, and opportunity is unlimited, yo!

If Eminem was right, I would have expended my one chance in third grade. My life since then has been an endless string of bad decisions, and “bad” understates the more consequential ones. Still, there’s hope for even me because “Thou hast not left me oft as I left thee.”

Thanks to Easter, broken lives are resurrected. George Jones finds another chance at age 67. Hope is still alive.

Just as Good Friday preceded Easter, however, despair must come before hope. If you’re at the bottom today, be glad. God still makes good from bad. What he’s done for others, he’ll do for you. I know because he’s done it for me. Like George Jones, I’m left to ask:

“Why me, Lord? What have I ever done to deserve even one of the pleasures I’ve known? Lord, what did I ever do to deserve loving you and the kindness you’ve shown?”

Adam Milasincic is a senior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]