Today's Lectionary Text
Yesterday was not a good day.
I saw too many things I can’t unsee. Afghanis clinging to the sides of a jet leaving Kabul. A good friend weighed down by an unending illness. A petty email that made me cringe.
Today didn’t start great either. Facebook. News headlines. Amidst the cute memes and human interest stories, I can’t help but notice. There’s just so much… so much…
I’m struggling to find the right word. What do you title that file in your head filled with all the things you wish you could unsee? All the violent images. All the horrific ideas. Human pain and suffering. The world at its worst. There’s so much potential to add to that file today. And I don’t think I can take it.
The advice I typically give others, but seldom take to heart, is when it’s too bad out there, DON’T LOOK. Avoid your eyes. If you don’t let it actually get TO YOU, then it won’t be as likely to GET to you. Get it?
I feel for Lot’s Wife. She was probably a wonderful woman, lots of redeeming qualities, but she doesn’t even warrant a name. We know her because she couldn’t help but look back at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Strangely, this wasn’t an example of the world’s carnage–this was God being particularly ferocious. Apparently, that’s something you can’t unsee, either.
The problem with not looking, of course, is the ostrich effect. Burying your head in the sand and ignoring the suffering and pain of a world that might just need you to perk up and take notice. Maybe there are times when we have to risk the trauma of seeing the trauma so that we can lend our hearts to its healing. Maybe there is a point to surfing the headlines, or watching the nightly news, or accessing that dreaded mental file folder.
But this week? Not so much. Not for me. I’m feeling rather…salt-averse. I’m pretty darned sure if I witness one more image of… badness, I’m liable to burst into sobs, my salty tears reducing me into a pillar of pain.
There are somethings you can’t unsee. Lot’s wife discovered that. Ask any soldier with PTSD, and they’re likely to tell you that. Heck, you can even ask me. I have that file in my head, and so do you, probably. It’s there by necessity, or as a precarious side-effect of life on a very imperfect Earth, and somehow we have to maintain it as part of our story, our history.
But today, I know my limits. Today, I’m not gonna look.
Here. Have some pretty flowers.
Have a great week,
Rev. Mitch Todd
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