I do not admire the excess of a virtue like courage unless I see at the same time an excess of the opposite virtue, as in Epaminondas, who possessed extreme courage and extreme kindness. We show greatness not by being at one extreme, but by touching both at once and occupying all the space in between.
― Blaise Pascal
I wasn’t going to write this week. But I cannot seem to stay away. I have hesitated to write because it just feels like more of the same. Another week, more stress, more fear, more sleeplessness. But I have to say. in all the difficulty and uncertainty, I cannot shake the holy – the beautiful and wonderful and unexpected. Those of us who see, who stay informed, who choose to remain in the fray (as long as their mental and physical and relational healths remain intact) are taxed. It’s been rough. Days full of breaking stories and random tidbits regarding the character of the people who are supposed to be in charge. The whole business is bananas (that is my new favorite word on a double IPA and a delicious Wahoo’s burrito). Ba-na-nas!
And the Evangelicals keep at it – pandering, excusing, Hillary this, Obama that. It’s ridiculous and comedic if we weren’t in these dark times. I hesitate to enter into the dramatic, but I need to. I don’t understand this ability to be cavalier. I don’t understand the inclination to “let it go”. I cannot. I have children. I have parents. I have people to care for and these people are going to suffer as a result of the choices of our government.
This tension. It’s a pain in the ass. But, I firmly believe, the tension is where we as Christians, as followers of Christ, are to dwell. Consistently sticking our head in the sand. Numbing. This doesn’t help, except when it’s required to preserve sanity and marriages and keeping children alive in short bouts. But this tension, the push and pull, this amazing interplay between Divine and evil, between hope-filled and terrified, between giddy excitement and utter bafflement is where God dwells.
As I sit outside in the waning daylight, there’s a dead mouse nearby. The chickens are pecking through the grass, the evening is cooling, the goats chomping. It’s a holy time, there isn’t much better than Colorado summer evenings. I have my beer and laptop, alongside the menagerie of four-legged family, and an empty burrito wrapper. It is good. It is a good life I have. But there’s still a dead mouse.
Tomorrow I head out on my yearly backpacking trip with the girls. It might rain. It might hail. It might snow. But our memories are so sweet. And the hamburgers and beer afterwards – perfect. So, we suffer a little. Our packs, they weigh us down, we complain, we wonder, we celebrate. It’s all there. All of it. And it’s totally worth it.
I spend too much time on Twitter and I spend too much time being informed. I rarely feel satisfied at the end of a day with my screen usage, my information gathering. But I also have had the most remarkable conversations this week – with people who are thrilled to join us in our work of planting this church. People I would have never dreamed are falling out of the sky to offer their expertise, their time, their hearts, their love. And I counter all of this with the news, the horrible processes in Washington, the potential suffering of people who cannot catch a break. I’m not sure how to do this. I’m not sure the right or best way. But I do know, we must live. We smile. We offer gift cards to struggling people with signs. We comment on social media to let friends know they are not alone. And we cry. We lament. We mourn. We engage in it all. And maybe we also eat too many M&Ms.
I am a Christian, through and through. I love Jesus. Let me repeat. I love Jesus. And my love for my Lord means I get to be uncomfortable on behalf of another. I am required to be uncomfortable on behalf of another, of people less fortunate than I, of people more fortunate than I, of people who do not share my same level of privilege. We are in this together, regardless of who we voted for, regardless of who we pledge our allegiance to, we are in this together. And we need to start acting like it.
The mouse is dead, and it stinks. My beer is nearly gone. My blog is almost done. The sun is receding. The day will end. Today is what we have.
Dwell in tension. See the people. Offer relief when you can. Be uncomfortable, find the holy in the unlikely and pray like mad.