I sighed as I opened this page. The cursor steadily blinks back at me, inviting words. I have words. Many of them, rolling around in my brain. Some of them, strong words. Swear words. But you know, imprecatory psalms and the lengthy poem we call Lamentations exist. They’re in our Bibles. And nobody is going to convince me that Peter and Paul never felt so intensely that some hot words escaped their lips.
I’m not glorying in swearing here. I’m saying that there’s room for the intensity, the confusion, the sorrow, the weariness. I’m saying that God knows, and God invites us into God’s presence to work all of that out. Dwelling in rage may not be holy, but neither is denying or suppressing it.
Kate says: rescue.
Here’s what I want to know: What are we trying to rescue?
If something or someone needs to be rescued, then that something or someone is in danger. The danger might be physical. It might be financial. It might be somewhat more intangible, but nevertheless very real, as in instances of spiritual or verbal abuse. The wanting to rescue the someone or the something from that danger, I think that’s a sign of caring. Of course, as with anything else in this life, we can take that caring in unhealthy, poorly-boundaried directions. But at its core, the impulse to make sure that someone or something is safe, that’s a good impulse. A community-minded impulse.
But what if there’s not actual danger?
What if the someone or the something is simply going through a change?
What if the someone or the something needs to grapple with unpleasant realities?
Right now, in this paroxysm of pandemic and social unrest, our rescuing impulse is twisted, morphing into preservation at all costs. We push away perspectives that challenge our own, and challenge our own to the point of making it clear that our perspectives are wrong. Dealing with reality is excruciating, and so we retreat and retrench. Hold on to what has always been, because even the briefest imagining of something else is too dangerous to entertain.
Preservation and recuse, those aren’t the same things.
What if rescue is found in letting go of preservation?
In saying, “I’ve been wrong.”
Or, “That was wrong.”
What if rescue comes in the form of the known being obliterated?
Because the known is rotted clear through, and not worth preserving?
And what if God is still here?