I wrote this over a month ago and wasn’t able to finish till now.
There has been a lot weighing on my mind lately. I think any parent is in a constant state of looking at the world around them with a newfound lens of “What does this mean for my child?”.
It can be overwhelming if you take that too far. It can consume you.
But there is a fine line and a grey area where for brief moments you can see with the hopefulness and the heartache of a child. Which I have come to see as life in its purest form.
My husband as his “Day Job”, works as a residential counselor at a Boys Home for addiction and behavior rehabilitation. His “Night Job” is church planting, which is why we moved back to Bloomington.
This past week one of the boys from the home were on an extended home visit. He was also two weeks from completing the program/graduating High School. A young man who knew what he wanted to do with his life, who all the other boys looked up to.
While at home, his mother caught him drinking, told him she was taking him back to the Home, where inevitably the leaders would be told, and he would have to start the program over again. In his compliant nature, he packed up his things, went to the car, then told his mother if he was going to be there for a longer time, he would like to have his slippers. He ran upstairs to his room, took out a shotgun, and killed himself.
As a parent the questions seem endless. For a while I thought my crying would be endless.
That boy was someone’s Eleonore.
That little boy. . .
And then my view broadens, and my questions as a Christian become endless.
This decision was made in a split second.
In that split second, where was the Hope that is central to the Christian Faith?
And then I begin to judge.
I begin to judge the church, I begin to judge those who call themselves Christians. I begin to judge myself.
How often am I guilty of not exasperating myself in my need to share the Hope that is Christ Risen?
It is of course much, much more complicated than judging and asking those questions.
I was on pinterest the same week. Oh man, I love this website! So fun and inspirational.
One of my “boards” is a place to put all of the lovely quotes that are fashioned into art on said site. The one that hit home in light of this boy’s death was this:
Practical and straightforward in it’s nature, this Albert Einstein quote struck through to the base of the problem.
If you tell someone that they aren’t good enough, will never be good enough for the love of Christ, and you judge them by this, and don’t share what is CENTRAL to the message of Christ, they will never be able to experience the Hope and Love of Christ. If you don’t name them for what they are. This idea of naming comes from my favorite author Madeleine L’Engle, and it consistently and persistently rings true with my theology and world outlook.
I see it as an epidemic in our society. We are not naming the children, who are becoming unnamed adults, and we ourselves are not claiming our names.
I have a friend who recently started a sports team. She shared with me about her confusion of community within this sports team.
“I feel more a sense of community on my team, than I have in a church in a long time.”
And I can’t do anything but nod my head in agreement and apologize for the Christian Church and what it has become (which is a full time job when it comes down to it).
If we Christians cannot hold one another up in the knowledge and hope of the risen Christ, then how DARE we look upon the world in judgement.
I struggle with this on a daily basis. The house that sits across from ours is not the “loveliest”. A seven unit victorian mansion that has seen better days, and holds so much sorrow and heartache.
I often don’t recognize the strung out that enter and exit this place. Some of the men who are tenants work on the house to pay their rent. I noticed that they had been staring at me quite a bit (I do say “Hi” when I see them and make eye contact, as they are neighbors) but this was getting uncomfortable (seeing them in the reflection of the window staring etc.) I feel completely safe, more than anything I don’t want other women being treated this way.
Nate went over to talk to them about it.
The landlord proceeds to say:
“She’s a pretty woman in a poor neighborhood, she needs to get used to it.”
No words are fit to respond to this.
I become enraged.
It’s a perfect example of a cyclical cycle that if we aren’t careful we can all find ourselves trapped in.
Because no one named the Landlord, no one cared and nurtured him and taught him the value of humanity, he cannot name anyone. In fact he allows people to live under his roof and continue in processes that not only don’t “name” but actually “un-name” them, consistently de-humanizing themselves. And in the process he is de-humanizing himself. Thus a woman doesn’t have humanity, she is thought of as an object to look at, un-naming her (me), and when I am “un-named” if I’m not careful, it takes away my ability to name, and so I begin to only see those men with eyes of disgust and hatred, rather than seeing them for what they are, un-named, un-nurtured, children of God (there is nothing wrong with being wise and safe, but it is still important to see them as human).
When I do this, and enter into this cycle, am I any better than the influence and judgment that brought this young boy to a place of ultimate hopelessness and desperation, where he thought his choices were gone?
No, I’m not.
Where does it stop/start?
With YOU and with ME.
Making a decision, to exasperate ourselves in sharing the Hope of the risen Christ, and letting that define how we care for EVERYONE we encounter.
This decision becomes even more vital when I see my child, and I see that my influence will directly decide how she values humanity and values creation. It’s a scary and yet ultimately hopeful privilege.
Einstein hits the American Christian Church on the head once again with this one:
If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
Let us make a decision to start filling the beautiful creation of God with the Hope we have been given, let us not be “a sorry lot”.
It might be crazy what we see.
peace to you,