This has been a rough week. I am entitled to at least one existential crisis a semester, and this was the first. Life has just felt heavier than normal lately. And that’s ok. For a very long time, part of my whole Good-Girl mentality meant I couldn’t feel pain or anger or sadness because, you know, Christians are always supposed to be happy and positive.
I write about redeemed endings and Kingdom come, but hope becomes really hard to find when friends die and young girls pour out their stories of abuse and self destruction and suicide to me. It gets hard when the reality of working in emergency services looks me in the face, and I think “do I really want this?”. Because pain is inevitable, no matter what I do. I can’t escape it. Even if I ran for the hills and built a cabin in the woods where I could lock myself away from the world and the never ending stream of information, of morbidity and mortality. As long as my feet walk this earth, I will experience pain and death. It’s a part of the Kingdom-come, but not here yet reality of our existence.
And I lay on my floor with the pages of my Bible spread open, searching, searching for the Story, the story of redemption and of the God-Man who came to earth to be a part of this broken mess. I am tired of trite answers and a happy-clappy Jesus. Because “God has a wonderful plan for your life” is a wonderfully helpful line to give to a trauma victim with multiple stab wounds.
How do I impart hope? How do I articulate what I believe, what I know to be true about this world in the face of the reality of death?
Here’s what I’ve learned so far. Stop trying to tell people about Jesus. Stop spewing self-help idioms born of mainline evangelical protestantism, because that’s like trying to put a bandaid on an arterial bleed. Just be Jesus to the people who need him (even if they don’t realize it). Sit with the broken and downtrodden and dying. Embrace it. Because they are made out of the same dust as you. And there’s something beautiful about that.