Asher came to me, from helping clean his bedroom, with a book tucked under his arm. I stood at my computer, editing, burning, prepping a post office run for work and a gallery for a client. Busy.
I want you read this to me.
He lifted his copy of Halfway Herbert and tilted his head. (For those who do not know the power of my son’s eyes:)
My answer? A distracted, slightly annoyed that he was out from his bedroom (which he was supposed to be helping to clean): No, Asher. Go put that back on your bookshelf please.
This afternoon, when I should have been putting away groceries, I stood at the counter, catching up on my Facebook Newsfeed after a busy morning and an exhausting trip out into the world with the foursome. I largely avoid Facebook debates these days, try to keep things happy and pleasant. I have come to the point of acceptance that you can’t change hearts and minds via a thread of comments beneath a link to a (biased) news article or picture of a Muppet or a witty-but-subtly-divisive status update.
And yet, that is all that has been clogging my stream for the past week and so, as ice cream melted on my counter, I found myself following (but not commenting) on a thread and messaging back and forth with the person who dared to start the whole thing by posting a status update about the line outside of a local fast food restaurant. (The nerve.)
The tangle of the debate wore itself down to the core, the hot center that people seem to want to fight over. Sin.
Are you calling me a sinner?
Of course not! Why, are you calling ME a sinner?
But, you can’t support X, without agreeing with their beliefs, and I think that they are bigots, thus, YOU must be a bigot.
Oh. My. Heart.
(Says the woman, reading the thread, rolling her eyes – at the world and at herself – allowing ice cream to melt into a soft serve mush in it’s carton while she avoids confrontation.)
You want to talk about sin? Great. I’m covered in it, so come on over, we can sit around and compare who has finished the bottle on a night when they’re supposed to be just unwinding, one too many times. Or how about the person who loves someone of the same sex and can’t seem to make that jive with what Fox News and the church on the corner is selling.
Or, how about the mother, pushing aside her child, who only wants her attention, for five minutes, because she is busy with online nonsense and work.
Love your neighbor (the person beside you on the bus, the cab driver, the child at your knee) as yourself.
Faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.
Faith and hope – got them aplenty. Faith to run the race and hope for the eternal glory when we’re all at the finish line. Check.
But love? Love is work. Love is patience and kindness and self-control, even when I don’t feel like it.
So, yes, I am a sinner. I wake up, every day, as a woman destined to sin, prepared for failure. But, hopeful, in a grace that covers over every blemish.
I am free.
Now, see, that is far more interesting to me. Sin? Sin is the nitty gritty, it’s the small stuff that distracts us from the big picture.
And that big picture is awe-inspiring, life changing, stop what you’re doing and really realize this, wonderful: we are all welcome to have our lives transformed by a very personal, very real, relationship with Christ. Every last one of us. Doesn’t matter who you are or where you have come from. It doesn’t matter who you have slept with or what is in your cup tonight. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting in a jail cell, awaiting trial for something no man could ever forgive you for. God can. God has.
Are you listening?
Of course, just because we all have sinned (and are destined to continue to sin, because if perfection was possible, we wouldn’t need the grace of Christ on the cross) – does not mean we should sit and wallow in it.
But hearts don’t change in an online debate, they change with the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s work to change hearts and direct paths – certainly not mine.
I’m sure there are fellow mother’s out there would nod along with me and offer to pour me a glass of wine so that we could commiserate on how difficult it is to balance our lives and to keep everyone happy and healthy. How difficult to keep the bank account full, while still having time to do all of the little things, like read to our children at their every whim.
But for me, this isn’t okay. This is an area in my life that the spirit is working on. Being present, loving and kind, holding my tongue and lowering my tone. And this is just the smallest corner of my heart.
The key here is that it is the spirit working. It is not the media and is not my friends at church or posting on Facebook threads, pointing out my flaws. And it’s not my husband nudging me to take it easy on the kids or stop working so hard. It’s only the conviction of the spirit.
And now, in the time it has taken me to write this, my children have driven me nearly mad and I have sent them all to their beds in a blatant over-reaction. So, I’m going to take a few moments, acknowledge my flaws, but not accept them as good enough. I’m going to go and apologize for my shortness with them and pray for a sweeter, quieter, more loving day tomorrow.
And I have faith, I will see one.