Monday, October 20, 2008
Well...I'm at the very beginning of my reading week (which is literally what the week suggests - a time to catch up on all of the reading material we are inundated with at school), and I'm already thankful for the space this week provides to process through all that I'm learning both in school and in my own life. It's fascinating to me how we seem to be learning the same lessons simultaneously but with different stories and varying contexts. Strange how God seems to be leading each one of us to the same place but with different methods.
I, too, found myself longing for comfort this morning as I attempted to come to terms with what it feels like to be unseen, unknown, unnamed and unvalued by others. We're each familiar with that place because it's simply a part of what it means to share in the human experience. And yet, the universality of it never seems to soften the blow or soothe the bruising. I just recently heard news that my little brother was bullied by a group of kids who for whatever reason (justified or not) strongly disliked him. After spotting him skateboarding in a parking lot they proceeded to physically drag him to a nearby elementary school where one of the kids took it upon himself to unleash his anger at the world on my baby brothers face until he pleaded with the kid to stop. With a black eye, broken nose, possibly a broken bone in his hand and bruising covering his entire head and neck, my poor brother's body looks how my heart feels right now.
All I can think of to say right now is, "Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do." Those boys have no idea how they have contributed to the wounds my brother has had to deal with from the second he came into this relationally-handicapped world. They don't even understand that they were using my brother as a punching bag out of their own woundedness. And likewise, those in whom I feel are associated with my own metaphorical beating are unable to see how they are further wounding an already nearly lifeless body. They are unaware of how their own defense mechanisms and coping strategies for the reality of the world we find ourselves in have developed out of their own woundedness. So, forgive us Lord, for we know not what we've done, what we're doing and what we will continue to do.
And somehow, saying those words out loud as I type them now reveal the comfort I have already experienced. It is a comfort that seeps out of the roots of a heart that knows it's own depravity. It is a comfort that is born out of acknowledging that I, too, beat him, scorned him and ultimately nailed him to the cross. It is a comfort that comes from those who see my own guilt and their own guilt and together we grab hands and cry out, "Lord, forgive us, for we know not what we do."
p.s. I found the image on flickr - it's by Sighthound and it's interestingly enough titled "Grace Among the Dead".