When the light comes on in our own lives, when we find redemption or restoration or new breath in our lungs—when we realize that what we have believed about others or ourselves or culture or past, present, future—what we’ve thought about who belongs or what is good or who goes first or what is true needs to be gathered up, placed rightly, washed over with redemption…
In that faint flicker or lightning bold flash of a moment, do we give ourselves a chance to change? Do we offer ourselves the grace to toddle as we learn to walk? Are we kind to our souls as our mouth forms new words? Do we forgive when we stumble?
Do we give ourselves a chance to live anew? I’d like to think we do. We’re taught to be kind to us, to understand that the change that counts takes time to take root so that it can’t be destroyed when storms come or nights grow long.
Yes, I’d like to think we are people of peace, that we are willing to clear the rubble and reach out the hand and draw others near to us as we walk this long-road journey of grace upon grace upon grace.
But I need to be honest with you. I see how we treat others, and I’m troubled. I’m not so sure we believe redemption is real, that the light is possible for anyone.
I long for us to draw near, but see us far too often drawing lines.
A notable teacher of faith made a bold announcement about walking away from all that was familiar and familial. There were those who cheered her steps into a world beyond denomination (and others within that denomination calling those steps misguided), those who offered quiet comfort, and those who wrote, “Unless her cadence matches mine, it is not a worthy journey.”
Someone says, “I’m relearning, unlearning, and learning new,” and we respond, “You’re still not learning enough.” Someone says, “I’m finding my way,” and we respond, “You should have known the way all along.” Someone says, “I am taking steps forward,” and we respond, “You’re not walking fast enough or far enough for my liking.”
And yet we all long to be believed. We all long to be given the chance. We all long for the outreached hand, the way made better, the safe place to gather.
This month, I’ve been gathering up ideas of what it means to draw near to each other. And I wonder what it would look like if we reached out our hands and pulled each other close rather than held each other at a distance.
And so I repeat these words over and over again.
Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Ephesians 4:2
An atmosphere thick with love sounds a lot like hope to me. I’m praying. And I’m holding on to that hope for us. If you are learning to draw folks near, or if you long for an outstretched hand, let me know. We’re in this together, and I am for you.