I underestimate my time at Berea... undervalue the people I have met and known... I tell my kids here about the importance of perspective... the need to evaluate our prejudices and biases before blocking out or categorizing our way into a blind corner with only our arrogance left to weave our bedtime stories. Life is rich. It must be lived embracing struggle, loving the different. Considering mankind breathlessley as you would any other display of such exquisite natural beauty tucked into such cruel, crude, sterile cracks... growing from putrid piles of rotting refuse by some mysterious fibrous grace. Thorns and Petals. Breathtaking... for the irony... again exponentially for its transience.
I remember people like you from Berea... people who looked at me with that resigned yet forgiving irritation. Most of the time you responded to me as if my feigned understanding... my beloved seasoned wisdom were forgivable and even cute, as long as I was reaching out to you in kindness. There was usually a wall there, because you were sure I would never understand you... but you didn't hate me for my naivite. You didn't even wish I wasn't there... that I know of. I do thank you for that.
I probably talked about life a lot. Don't remember... I'm sure I was proud of my percieved access to it, growing up on a farm. But watching death is very different from fearing it. And no cow, dog, or rabbit, no matter how special is a brother, a sister, or a close friend.
You fought so hard sometimes for love of various varieties, and lost so badly to it. I saw dried blood flake often as your face flexed into a covering smile. Often I didn't know about your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, your best friend. I didn't know about your terror, your shame... your sins of omission or commission. I didn't know about your self-labels whether lik-n-stik or laser-etched... chosen or imposed. But as I find out about them later...
I think back to when I saw you care for someone... saw you read to a child. ...to when I saw you snag trash in a park. I watched you draw someone else who was hurting out of their pain, and let them rest on you for awhile, despite your own aches. I saw you care. I saw you love.
And I have to stop... and puzzle at myself... impressed so deeply with you.
I ache watching you... with your perspective... showing life and love... and that ache gives a little perspective... and that new perspective floors the old me.
I am in awe of the originator for the idea of such a creature as man... all the complexity and contrast, brokenness and perpetual access to love and hope. We are resilient creatures in our most broken of states... a tribute to the mind of a God who enjoys cycling... Carbon... Water... hope. It is the nature of his heart. It is the nature of His work in us.
Don't misread me... I don't think we are bound in these cycles... more... free in them. Able to love despite a pattern of unlove. Able to learn dispite condemnation and shame. Able to step when at the edge of our worlds as bound by fear. From those points at the end of ourselves, God has made a possibility... something small and green to root and photosynthesize... the point not being our broken states, but rather the life that all that brokenness has the capacity to endow. And paradoxically the best and worst parts: we usually don't see it until the last minute when it steals our breath.