Because You Care

As I read the news today, I decided I must be living in an alternate universe.  It's that fantastic and unbelievable.  It feels like the end of the world... 

First, there's so much crazy in politics right now, and not just the normal amount of crazy that we have come to expect from politicians.   It's absolutely frightening, to be blunt.  

And this virus...  how is it possible that we have become divided over the simplest of anti-virus spreading measures: wearing a dang mask?  HOW?  

Then there are the massive, deadly fires on the West Coast, devastating hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.  

It feels sometimes like the darkness is winning.  

I do battle with the darkness every day of my life.  It's always threatening, always lurking around the corner waiting for the moments when I feel like all might be lost.  

Maybe some of you know what I'm talking about.  Maybe the darkness feels more than a little overwhelming to you right about now.  I get that.  

There are days when the darkness doesn't need a lot of outside help to get a toe hold in my head, if you know what I mean.  I've got my own junk, and it's substantial. But when you add everything that's going on around us into the mix--it's debilitating. 

If you are feeling this way, please know that you are not alone.  You also should know that as hard as it is to get out of bed and face it all---you have to.  The world needs you.  The world needs you and that broken, caring heart of yours.  

You heard me.  You are needed... because you care.   

You might be wired a bit differently than other caring people, and for you the caring hits you deeply in places where it hurts more, perhaps.  Or at the very least it hurts differently.

And the hurt might come at you hard, bringing you to your knees, immobilizing you, making you feel like you can't rise, that you can't be rid of the darkness that comes with the hurt.  

Go ahead.  Feel that hurt.  Face the darkness.  Stare it down.  Let it in so you know what it feels like, don't try to deny it, or push it down because doing so won't really help in the long run.  But don't let it take you.  Don't let it keep you from embracing how much you care.  

I recently read this amazing quote from Madeline L'Engle from her book Walking On Water: 

"... as long as anybody cares, all is not lost.  As long as anybody cares, it may be possible for something to be done about it; there are still choices open to us; all doors are not closed.  As long as anybody cares it is an icon of God’s caring, and we know that the light is stronger than the dark."  

As long as you care, we all have a chance.  As long as you care, the darkness retreats a little, and then a little more.  As long as you care, we have a tangible icon of God's caring, a symbol of Divine solidarity with our suffering.  

So rise up today.  You should know that the darkness doesn't get to win.  I know this because I have read the end of the story in the book of Revelation from the New Testament, and the story ends well.  It always does. 

Granted, the last book of the Bible might be full of all kinds of fantastic word pictures, weird imagery and first century political references, but Revelation casts a vision of the ultimate victory over the darkness with these words:  
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
So don't let the darkness scare you.  And the hurt... don't let it scare you either.  It will not always be such a sharp pain, but it might be a dull ache inside of you that resurfaces now and again.  

But that hurt can (if you let it) serve to remind you that you are still alive, still feeling, still caring.  

Don't let it define you.  Don't let it overwhelm you.  Don't let it keep you from rising and caring.  The world needs you, remember?  So rise up.  It's time to make a difference.  You can do this.  We can do this.  With God's help, we can do this.  

May we find the courage to rise and care.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all now and forever. Amen.  


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