Take heart!

Along one of my stops this morning, on day dreary with rain and dampened spirits, my eyes caught hold of a fragmented photo from history staring at me as I sloshed past the tiny Antique storefront. The many faces implored me to stop and take a closer look. Taken in the early 1920's, somewhere in New York City, a diverse cluster of children flanked by their teachers spill forth from the steps of their school to the sidewalk. Scanning across the photo, I see serious stares of the little girls, the goofy one with his tongue stuck out and the boy who didn't take the time to finish buttoning up his shirt. These children are now, if still living, top tier members of our most elderly population. Each face in this frame represents a lifetime of love, hurt, joy, sorrow, perseverance, happiness and pain. These little cherubs/class clowns/studious scholars/trouble-makers/adventure-seekers where born too late to participate in World War 1 but just in time to be in their prime by World War 2...but they did not know that on this day, when the big-deal photographer came to their door. They were just children, living their lives. Putting one foot in front of the other. Taking opportunities as they came, if they came at all. In their time longevity and ease of living were hard-won.

I bought this torn old photograph.

I bought it because it speaks to me of history and the small dot we are in it. It reminds me every generation moves and breathes with it's own weight of darkness on it's back, starting from the very first family, who began a God-breathed Utopian life only to choose their own way out and watch as one of the first children to be born on Earth's soil killed his own brother (Genesis 4:8). It took approximately less then one generation for humans to give hurt a foothold and feel the sharp consequences that come the sin-filled choices which result.

Several hundreds of years after the first murder (with generations of casualties in between), the wisest man who has ever lived penned these words:

"Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past into account.
Ecclesiastes 3

I feel the darkness pushing in, some days more than others. It's weight threatens to pull me down, rendering me ineffective to love well those whose burdens, aches and bruises I can aid in healing. Getting caught up in stances and blame games only distracts from the real work of restoration. I desperately want to assume a small portion of pain from my fellow humans who live in fear of their lives and for those who carry the weight of unexpected tragedy. There is tremendous amount to be absorbed and quite frankly, sometimes I would rather build a thick wall around my heart and home to keep the agony away. It's much safer to stay under the covers, behind the door, away from the fray.

But we weren't called to be safe, or sequestered.

Every generation under the sun since there has been a sun has known pain and has felt the aftershocks of evil. No one person can assume it's full weight, not even close. No one can banish the evil, that is God's job and while it may be hard to tell, He has not left His throne.

Instead, He's invited to a life whose reality is above the dark even as our physical bodies live in it. We have another reality, and before we step out of our homes to attend to the pain to our right and left, we must call to memory the truth of God's world, the one stronger and surer than the one our eyes can see.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 
John 16

"Yet in the gloom a light glimmers and glows. We have received an invitation. We are invited to make a pilgrimage--into the heart and life of God. The invitation has long been on public record. You can hardly look anywhere and across the human scene and not encounter it. It is literally "blowing in the wind". A door of welcome seems open to everyone without exception. No person or circumstance other than our own decision can keep us away. "Whosoever will may come." ....Confidence in him leads us today, as in other times, to become his apprentices in eternal living. "Those who come through me will be safe,", he said. "They will go in and out and find all they need. I have come into their world that they may have life, and life to the limit". 
-Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy

Today, as the dark bears downs in ways we each perceive in different ways, let us remember that we are small but important players in a small slice of history which falls under an over-arching reality that has been, is, and will be fully girded in a Hope that does not disappoint and a destiny that leads only to life.

Chin up, heart full, dig-in while looking beyond...we are only walking each other home.



Cheryl @ TFD said…
I just wanted to say that this is a wonderful, well-written post! I've been doing some blog-hopping this evening and found your blog. Glad I did! I also really like your last line that states we are only walking each other home. Have a nice week!

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