Every time there is a mass shooting, I imagine myself as a victim. Perhaps you've done the same. What would it feel like to be in the classroom ... the clinic ... at the Christmas party ... going about your daily life, only to see someone suddenly coming toward you with weapons? What would you do—what would you say—if the weapon were pointed at you? What does it feel like to have a bullet enter your body, to watch your blood pour out? To think, to know you will die? Is it macabre that I imagine this?
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I caught myself getting overwhelmed one night. I’d been distracting myself from my stress all day long—running from meeting to meeting, answering emails, sending e-mails, moving from one uncompleted task on my desk to the next. When I finally got home and needed to focus on my children, though, I no longer had the energy to distract myself. So the stress I had successfully avoided all day slowly began to unravel itself and take over. The power of emotion is extraordinary.
Every year at least one breakable item in my kitchen meets its end. The cause of death is usually a fall to the kitchen floor, and I am usually the perpetrator. One morning recently, before leaving the house to teach a yoga class, my elbow grazed the handle of a glass mug. So began its descent to a crash.
I’ve been thinking about doubt. It started when I read a recent piece over at Pete Enns’ blog about a pastor who confessed his doubts about the existence of God in front of his congregation. It continued when a friend pointed me in the direction of The Liturgists podcast, and particularly the episodes where the host (Michael Gungor) and co-host (Mike McHargue, or “Science Mike”) discussed their de-conversion and re-conversion narratives. Especially interesting was the shape of the faith that was eventually returned to.
The beginnings of things are sometimes hard to discern as they are happening. Sometimes we experience that lightning bolt of recognition, a sudden, stark contrast between then and now, seeing in a stranger’s face the one we are beginning to love in that same moment. More often, we realize in the midst of things that they’ve already begun, something new seeping into the familiar terrain, changing the texture like steady gentle rain saturating dry ground. What was hard and dusty becomes damp and spongy, the moment of change imperceptible.
So many of us have desires for our lives that begin: “I deserve” or “I must have.” We want what everyone else has. We ask God for very specific things. We want life to be somewhat fair. Of course, it’s very human of us to feel this way.