HORIZONS: Easter a time to celebrate the chance for new beginnings

I love irony.

According to the film “Reality Bites,” irony is when “the actual meaning of a word differs from the literal meaning of the word,” but there are many kinds of irony, not just verbal.

As I think I’ve written before in this column, all humor is based in situational irony-the presence of the unexpected when we least expect it done or said.

Dramatic irony is when something occurs onstage that the audience knows to be false, but the characters take as truth-think of “Mrs. Doubtfire,” or if James Bond ever again claims monogamy.

Less funny is the irony Alanis Morrisette speaks of in her hit single “Ironic”-“It’s like rain on your wedding day / a free ride when you’ve already paid / [or] the good advice that you just didn’t take.”

And despite the tragic events last September that prompted Variety magazine to trumpet the “Death of Irony,” the rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. Irony, my friends, is alive and well.

And there’s no better example than the two holidays we had last week-the sanctity of Easter back-to-back with a holiday dependent upon situational irony, April Fools’ Day. If you look at Easter from its original perspective, it, too, is based in situational irony. What’s more unexpected than a dead guy coming back to life?

But whether you believe the original perspective or not, there is no doubt as to the true meaning of Easter, something that runs far deeper than baskets of easily breakable plastic eggs filled with jellybeans or the hunt for an elusive white rabbit.

The focus of Easter was, is, and always should be, redemption. Just as Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks (duh), Independence Day a time to acknowledge our freedom, and Christmas a time for joyful celebration, Easter is a time to celebrate the possibility of new beginnings.

There is irony in that too, for “new beginning” is redundant.

Everything has a single beginning, or a group of moments that coalesce to create one. The new beginnings we make are not “do-overs” of past mistakes-nothing can completely erase those.

Our new beginnings are opportunities to right them, opportunities to live a better life than the one we have…the beginning of the rest of a life led with more presence of mind than you’ve had before, the wisdom that comes from screwing up, and the realization by how blessed you truly are.

I, personally, have been blessed with more than I would have thought possible several months or years ago. Love. Faith. Family. The friends who matter and give back to me as much or more than I give to them. A film in progress that-when originally conceived-was meant to be nothing more than a dumb, light-hearted comedy and evolved somewhere along the line into a dissertation on life, love, friendship and destiny (now there is irony). A brilliant, talented cast who thrills and amazes me with every one of my words they bring to life. The opportunity to make this movie, the equipment that has fallen into our hands, the professional musicians who have contributed songs to the soundtrack for free, the people who’ve read endless drafts of the script to help make it better, the director’s assistant who volunteered for her position and cleans my kitchen as part of her job duties (no, we’re not dating). A producer who keeps me from losing my mind (not to mention consistently updating the movie’s Web site). The confidence I have in myself to take on this project and do it not just well, but with excellence.

I have been blessed, despite my perpetual and still-constant screwups.

There is irony in that, there is grace, and there is redemption.

So have we all, not just on Easter but every day that we reach out to accept it…every day we reach out and realize that things could be different if we allowed them to be and made them be.

The past is just that-the past, despite its haunting echoes; the future hasn’t happened yet and is therefore undecided. We live in the present, and (to paraphrase an old, sappy metaphor that I can’t believe I’m using) the present is a gift, one to do with what we will.

And if we use it to recreate ourselves for the better, we recreate and contribute to the “new beginnings” of every life we touch.

And there is no irony in that…just simple truth.

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