The worst moment is when you think everything is going right, and then suddenly it all falls apart. One of my favorite shows, The Walking Dead is brilliant at this. (A bit of a year old spoiler ahead…) For example, there was this sweet kid, Beth. She disapeared for about a year. Suddenly she is back. We get reminded how wonderful she is. Then? Then she dies.
Though I am not a sports guy, I can emphasize with football fans. The team is about to come back, the quarter back throws a beautiful pass, across dozens of yards. They bar erupts in cheers! And then, the other team comes in, intercepts, and then it all falls apart. Touchdown, field goal, or maybe a home run or something. (You have no idea how proud of myself I am, for that sports metaphor. Based on the above accuracy, you will probably be amazed to find out that I am not a sports guy.)
I think God must get this feeling a lot. Perhaps by you. Most definitely by me. There are times when I suspect “he” is like, “That’s right Jeff, you are thinking the right way. Just keep going in that direction, keep thinking that way…. What?!? No, you just messed it all up!”
Last blog post, a pondered about the ways that God shows up in the flesh, the ways he is here, in the details, in the mess, in the dirt. God is amazingly specific and detailed. He is an example, not an abstraction.
And yet? As I shared this… I was all abstract. Theoretic. I heard once about a presentation given on “The Interactive Classroom.” It was a power point presentation. This adventure in missing the point is a bit like mine, I think.
I am writing, mostly, to myself, and for myself here. This is my reminder to myself, my attempt at calling myself out to something bigger and better. The bigger and better? It is living where and when I am.
When I am among the hurting, I want to hurt with them. I want to carry that burden. I want to feel the pain. I want to embrace the specifics of the pain, rather than deflecting with abstraction and theoretics. This will mean, often, closing my mouth and sitting in silence with others… Because these canned responses that we save for hard times… They are as much about protecting our own selves as they are about helping out others.
And when I am among the rejoicing, I want to rejoice. I am terrible at rejoicing. I think it is an age, culture, and gender thing… Straight white middle aged men? We are typically terrible at rejoicing. To explore why would probably require a bunch of paragraphs. Or maybe a whole blog post. Or maybe a whole book.
Whatever the reason, my failure to embrace the actual reality of a moments of joy means that every last one of them will never come back. They are lost forever. And I think it’s time I stopped that.
I am new to this… and maybe not very good at it. How do I step out of the theoretical and ideal and into the reality of the moment?