Contagious

KID Hospital ward
KID Hospital ward (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everything is contagious.

That statement is a little bit right.  And we are wise to guard ourselves with it.  Spending too long among destructive attitudes, lousy choices, unhealthiness… If we are not careful, these things can spread to us.

But… 

But this awareness runs pretty deep.  This awareness runs too deep.  We might never have put it into words.  We might not have ever admitted to ourselves.  But we run with this fear: everything is contagious.  We hold on to it with a cowards desperation.

If I am to be brutally honest, I know that there have been down trodden people, hurting people, suffering people at the far end of some great tragedy.  It is hard to want to be with them.   For me, when bad things for others loom on the horizons, when bad things threaten, it’s not so bad.  I am inspired to stand by people, offer what support I can.

But once it all goes down?  This should be the time I am most there for others.  And yet, it is when I find the most reason not to be.

  Hurting people sometimes make it easy to neglect them.  When we are in our darkest places, we don’t often do a good job of reaching out and telling people what we need.

And I think I– we– don’t like our powerlessness exposed.  When people are headed toward disaster we can help them be proactive, find ways to limit the damage that will be done.  But once the disaster has happened?  We can not change peoples circumstances.  We can’t make their pain go away.  In fact, When people are deeply hurting, it can be scary because there are lots of bad things we can say to make the situations seem a little worse.

But I am seeing right now that giving into this fear is an act of cowardice.

There are lots of people I should have been with after the … fit hit the shan.   I could not have done anything for them, really.  But I should have been there.  Too walk beside them through pain and grief and shame and mourning.  To sit in the ashes with them, wordlessly. 

I am sorry if you are one of the people who has been let down by me in this way.

One of the things I see is that Jesus is there, in that suffering.  And sometimes he is magnified and glorified when he gets to work through others that are around in the midst of tragedy.  Not in miracles, usually.  (Thogh those do happen) but rather in the day to day presence, in the simple being there.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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