We cannot lead where we have not gone first.
There will always be a cross somewhere in the midst of the Christian solution to evil, the cross of the pain involved in not returning blow for blow; a cross of the natural, human bitterness felt in the experiencing of hatred and returning love in its place, of receiving evil and doing good; a cross reflected in the near impossibility of counting oneself blessed in the midst of persecution, or of hungering and thirsting for justice, or in being merciful and peacemakers in a world which understands neither. Between us and fulfillment, between us and everlasting justice, between us and salvation of the suffering world, there will always stand the paradox of the cross, a cross not for others, but for us.
Right now I’m taking a Psych Assessment class, one small and important step on my journey toward getting my professional counseling license. For the class, we had to conduct a handful of assessments on ourselves. Knowing my professor, one of his primary goals was to teach us what it’s like to be in our clients’ shoes by experiencing the testing process ourselves. It worked. I got appropriately frustrated by being pigeon-holed. This gamut of pretty narrow results are constructed by a stressfully small number of leading questions. I’ve never in my life wanted to cheat on a test… until this. So I guess it worked. I felt the stress of the testing-storm as if I were a client being assessed in a clinical environment. And it also further exposed a part of myself that wants to be perceived by others as extra wonderful – a part of myself which I find to be quite ugly.
But when I researched how some of the tests were created and what they really measured, I found something interesting. One of the common denominators among the personality tests was correlated to biodiversity. Some of the test results were related to the measurement of genetic polymorphism and there was some “serotonin transporter gene” language thrown in here and there. I find it endlessly fascinating to think about how genes morph to create further biodiversity. (I am, after all, married to a man who majored in Evolutionary Biology at Harvard! He’s now a pastor, just so you know…which really adds icing to the cake that is this blog post.)
But what I love about biodiversity is that it’s never just biological.
I don’t believe any diversity is single-faceted!
I find God to be a very creative Artist. He is so un-boring. I can’t believe the amount of diversity that exists in my group of loved ones alone, let alone the entire earth. It’s why I’m so intrigued by studies of trauma & resilience around the globe. It’s why I love art & music. It’s why I love love l o v e people.
It’s all just so un-boring.
Last week my 6-year-old daughter went back to school. First grade. She loves her school as much as any little girl ever could love a school. But she cries every day at school – even if just for a minute – because she misses us. I appreciate being missed, but it breaks my heart knowing she cries e v e r y d a y at school. She is my tender little soul.
Yesterday, however, was was a new day. She came home from school and the first thing she said to me when she hopped in the door was, “Mommy, I didn’t cry today! I had such a super good day that I didn’t cry!”
"I am so happy you had such a super good day. And I’m so happy you’re home now so we can snuggle."
But then there’s more to the story, sort of.
On Saturday my best friend/honorary little sister moved to France (for the time being). Today I walked into the coffee shop where she worked all summer for the first time since she’s been gone. And I cried. Just for a minute.
I miss her.
I guess some things stay the same, whether you’re 6 or 31.
If the weak and needy are being pushed down, there can be no Shalom.
When we are looking at each other through the sights of our guns we see only the rightness of our own cause. We think more about how to enlarge our power than to enlarge our thinking.
Jesus said his followers would be known by their love, not for their placards of protest and angry letters…Angry rhetoric of retaliation may be cathartic, but it’s not Christlike.