We interrupt your regularly scheduled deep theological reflection to bring you the following dose of reality:
I tried to rewrite that sentence about six times, to make it more mature and less crude. But I can’t come up with a satisfying alternative. It’s the only image that works right now. Like when you’re enjoying a beautiful day at the beach or a pleasant afternoon at the park and you look up to smile into the sun, only to have a bird go SPLAT all over your head.
The world is a graced and lovely place, abounding in God’s goodness. I believe this. I also believe that the majority of humans on this graced and lovely world will face MUCH more daunting struggles than I will this day. How to feed their starving children. How to protect themselves from violence. How to find clean water. How to escape the terror of war.
For crying out loud, NPR announced to me this morning that the amount of oil gushing out of the leak in the Gulf every four days is equivalent to the Exxon Valdez disaster. It’s been gushing for 30 days now. If that’s not enough to make you want to weep for God’s creation and put your life challenges in perspective, I don’t know what is.
But still. The crappiness of certain days and smaller realities cannot be denied.
Like, for example – purely fictitious example, shall we? – let’s say you spend over six months hard at work planning a series of extremely important and interesting professional meetings, for which important and interesting people are flying in from all over the country. And then let’s say – purely fictitiously – that merely five days before these meetings are to launch, your hitherto-wonderful childcare provider suddenly announces to you that “it’s no longer working out” and she won’t be able to watch your child anymore.
In the words of S: “waaaaa?”
Let’s get real. We’ll be fine. It’s not the end of the world. We’ll scramble and get something together. I will continue to pray for wisdom and patience and the maturity to not turn this into a desperate break-up scene wherein I show up at her house to return the box of books and clothes she lent us and start yelling from the street corner “High Fidelity”-style about how I thought we had a good thing going and how could she dump me at a time like this?
I will pray for peace instead. I will pray that we lean into the uncertainty of this situation and trust that God will provide for us. I will remember the wonderful line from Rilke about living into the questions and I will meditate on the words of Jeremiah that God has plans for us, plans to prosper and not to harm us, plans to give us a future full of hope.
But honestly, I will probably wallow in self-pity for awhile too. Can you help it, while you’re wiping the bird crap off your head?