Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I tried to be light and fluffy... really I did.

Today is Tuesday and since Sunday I have avoided my blog... even though there were some voices wanting to be let out. Well, that is not entirely true. Yesterday, Monday, I approached it with the promise-to-self that I would upload some recent family/kiddo pictures and keep everything nice and light. In attempts to do so, I was told by Ole Apple computer that my iPhoto program was somehow not compatible with the OS X Yosemite (I don't even know what Yosemite is??). Bottom line: I couldn't upload photos and therefore couldn't make my light-happy post.

So instead of researching how to update my iPhoto (or learn what Yosemite is), I let me thoughts continue to evolve on the inside.

Until today, when I am here. Writing. About not-happy things.

Sunday. I can't shake Sunday.

Orlando's shootings came a day after a rather deep conversation I had with seven-year-old Sullivan. We were walking home from the neighborhood pool Saturday evening, just the two of us, when he began asking what our Sunday would hold. He's a likes-to-know-about-tomorrow sort of kid. I let him know about our plans to attend church, which he interrupted with an impulsive, "WHEN AM I EVER GOING TO EAT THE BREAD???" Backdrop: Although our United Methodist congregation openly welcomes all people (and ages) to the communion table, Scott and I have made the decision to withhold that particular practice/sacrament until our kiddos are a tad older... old enough, we hope, that they can somewhat fully grasp the meaning of communion.

I know. We're being fuddy duddies. Although, in general, I am super-lax related to all things traditional or conventional, I'm sort of a stick in the mud about this. This seems big to me. This isn't about a couple extra carbs in the belly (Sullivan LOVES bread :) It's more.

So, on that walk home Saturday night, I went into a bit more detail that it was something Daddy and I would like for him to understand more before taking part in. That it means a lot more than bread and juice. And he needed to be older.

If you know Sullivan at all, you know that any statement lacking The Concrete places no meaning inside his brain. "How old?" he asked. I knew better than to say, "We'll let you know when we know." So I made it up on the spot: "Eleven." Forever the deal-maker, Sullivan says, "Four years is FOREEEEEHVER!!! How bout Ten?"

So ten it is.

A couple paces goes by and then the inquiry continues. "Well, can you just tell me what it means NOW?"

Now I know I am not the first parent who has come to discover mid-explanation just how R-rated the story of Jesus is. Not the born-to-human-parents-but-really-son-of-God part (although that's stinking confusing still for EVEN ME), not the ministry to the poor and the infringed part, not the people-in-power are starting to get mad part... it's what comes next, The Last Supper and the Crucifixion part that got me hung up. As I am saying the words, "They nailed Him to a cross," I realize that I would never talk about this graphic of an image to my seven-year-old buddy about anything else. He had been in listening mode until then, but suddenly put his head down with, "That makes me sad."

I already had the finale prepped and ready to go. And I could have busted it out right then. But I bit my tongue for a bit and just teared up myself, hugging the little guy and affirming his feelings. Yes, Sullivan, treating someone like that is dang sad.

But then came the moment I had been waiting for... The part where Jesus comes back, even after death. The part where we see that God can set all wrong things right. That love rises to the top of all human frailty and brokenness.

I gotta be honest, there were a lot of wrinkles in his forehead.

I don't think it made sense to him one i-oh-ta.

So I just over-simplified (read: it's the only way I as an adult can make sense of it): "Here's the take-away, Sullivan. This is the important part to remember... Love is always, always, always bigger than anything else. Love ALWAYS wins."

Then ensued the "What is bigger" game.

"What's bigger, love or meanness?" LOVE
"What's bigger, love or sickness? " LOVE
"What's bigger, love or thunderstorms?" LOVE

Then. Sunday happened.

I am happy that my kids are still little enough to have their heads below the information radar. So, Scott and I haven't needed to frame a total of 50 needless deaths for them. I am having a hard enough time framing it for myself. I am a crying mess over here. Even, as I well-know that human suffering, innocent deaths, and needless terror happen every day to thousands of people in a number of countries, this mass shooting is making me cry the most.

And I am so glad that my nut-shell theological debrief happened recently enough to be able to find solace in my own words, even though - just 72 hours stale - they still seem a little foreign and distant. Because believing LOVE IS BIGGER theology is certainly a whole hell of a lot easier when there's no meanness, sickness, or thunderstorms nearby.

Nonetheless, LOVE IS BIGGER than the illness of rage and hatred that I can only imagine must've run through the shooter's veins for weeks, months, probably years prior to Sunday morning. LOVE IS BIGGER than the recently-made-thicker lines of division between people who believe in tightening gun control and those who do not. LOVE IS BIGGER than homophobia. LOVE IS BIGGER than the paralyzing fear-turned-prejudice some people are now experiencing of immigrants from countries with histories of terrorism. LOVE IS BIGGER than extremism of any kind.

I don't know what to do with this belief, but I absolutely in my heart am committed to its truth.

Then, don't you know, I pass by this morning The Door Upon Which All Important Things That I Often Do Nothing With Are Posted (the basement door where flyers and notes and monthly preschool calendars from May are taped up). And something draws me to an advertisement for our church's adult Sunday School series, "Living the Questions." Of course, I missed week 1 and week 2. GUESS WHAT WEEK 3, June 19th, IS ENTITLED??? "Practicing Resurrection" I poop you not. "Practicing Resurrection" is the theme and the description is, "While much has been made of Jesus' literal and physical resurrection being the core historical event of Christianity, the Biblical texts themselves present conflicting evidence. For many today, the resuscitation of Jesus' body is less important than the idea of resurrection as a credible and meaningful principle for life."

Cannot wait to hear about that credible and meaningful principle... I sure hope the teacher says something to the effect, "LOVE IS BIGGER and THAT is what resurrection is all about." You better believe I'll be in the front seat Sunday.

But, seriously, does anyone know what "Yosemite" is?  :)

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