Finding God in the Jagged Edges
This phrase comes to my mind, and I frequently utter it out loud when something becomes difficult for no apparent reason:
"Why does everything have to be so hard?"
Like when I'm trying to open a bag of potato chips or some other bagged, crispy snack, and the bag doesn't open correctly and explodes all over the place.
Or when I'm trying to put together some put-together furniture and realize I'm missing a piece of hardware, put something on wrong, or lost a screw.
I've also uttered that phrase when what I perceive to be a simple decision or a way forward is more complex to others and takes much longer than I thought it would resolve.
Most of us have a phrase like this that comes to mind, and perhaps we say it whenever we encounter unexpected challenges or accidents that blow up our plans or even turn our lives upside down.
And that exact phrase can also apply to the hard things happening around us.
Sometimes it feels like the world is an inhospitable place. There's too much that's not as it should be. And even in our own lives, our challenges often feel insurmountable.
Some time ago, I wrote down a quote by author Catherine Bourgeault that resonated with me. Today it spoke to me in a new way, and I'd like to share it:
Could it be that this earthly realm, not in spite of but because of its very density and jagged edges, offers precisely the conditions for the expression of certain aspects of divine love that could become real in no other way?
In other words, our challenges and obstacles can reveal the truth about God's love in ways we might not have otherwise experienced.
And all the ways the world isn't as it ought to behave that same potential.
We can spend our time railing and raging against what we perceive to be wrongs, injustices, and human beings' inhumanity toward one another, or we can choose to see the love and mercy of God revealed in the brokenness of it all and how we might be a part of its healing.
Fred Rogers, the ineffable children's TV host for the ages, once said that in the face of tragedies and disasters that are unexplainable and awful, we must "look for the helpers," those people who are seeking to make it right, to provide healing and hope.
We might also find the courage to become those helpers.
There's also something to be said about framing the injustices and wrongs we perceive in light of the progress made and how far we have come as a society.
While we should not grow complacent in continuing to bring heaven to earth and seek God's shalom in the world, we should also take the time to rejoice over what has been healed, what is made right, as well as how much more needs doing.
Sometimes things are just difficult. Not much in our world is completely in order. Chaos reigns at times. There are "density and jagged edges" to our world and our own lives.
But if we are willing, we can see God in all of it. We can discover divine love in broken places and discover anew what it means to be light-bringers and love-sharers.
May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all now and always. Amen.