Sometimes I wonder what to say and what to be silent about. I don’t often tell the sad stories. Not because there is not sadness, but because a sad story is a real story, about a real person. And I don’t want to make light of someone’s suffering by sharing it to make a sensation. I don’t want someone’s real pain to be something we can just sit back and consume along with our morning coffee. But there’s sadness in the world, and sometimes the sad stories need telling, too.
Sometime’s it’s Friday all around.
There’s a teen on crutches, struggling to walk to school because he was stabbed at his high school. And there’s a boy who did the stabbing, and social workers say his home is not a safe place. And there’s a big brother breaking up a fight on his way to work, who’s now lying dead from a stab-wound. And there’s a little brother running up to a fieldworker, arms outstretched, tears streaming down his face,
“Uncle, Uncle, did they tell you? Do you know they stabbed my brother?”
And the world spins back to that other one with arms outstretched crying out,“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
There’s sadness and darkness and the world rings with the hollow emptiness of death, and the question hangs in the air: Why? Why have you forsaken me?
What do you say when it’s Friday all around?
picture: Jabulani Kids Club Christmas Party 2012
When our eyes are still cloudy with tears, we cling to the fact that he is risen. When we feel alone we listen. We listen hard. He’s standing right next to us, saying our name. They haven’t taken him away. He’s here. He’s alive.
We grab on to this truth and don’t let go. We squeeze it until our knuckles are white and cramped. He IS alive. Death IS overthrown. And he IS here. And he IS making all things new. He is.
Quietly, bit by bit. All the dark bits will be rooted out. He hasn’t gone away to some cloudy place we must follow—he’s alive. The plan is not to scrap this world but to redeem it. He’s risen, he’s risen indeed, that’s why we’re working, joining him in the restoration of all things.
Until that final day when all the sad things will come untrue, and every tear is wiped, and his glory covers the world as the water covers the sea, we work and work and cry at the pain, and battle against the darkness, and stake out little corners where the light can shine brighter. We bandage the wounded and stand our ground, swearing our allegiance to the risen king who is coming back one day to reclaim his own. Even if we’re raggedy looking. Even if we don’t always know what to say. Even if our light flickers, it doesn’t go out.
This is a battle. On Fridays it looks like everything is over. But we cling to the hope that Sunday comes.
And sometimes you’ve just got to say “Shut up devil, we’re going to dance anyway.”