Monday, June 12, 2017

War stories from the front of life.

I worked once at Child/Youth Services for the army at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A young child with Cerebral Palsy would be brought in by his mom. I and the staff looked on in a mixture of sympathy and uneasiness every morning. Because somebody would have to take time to feed the little boy. Because he couldn’t feed himself. He was a sweet child but absolutely dependent on others for his welfare and even for his physical life. Honestly? Nobody including yours truly wanted to feed the child. It was a little messy and it always made you feel  a little guilty and very uneasy because of not wanting to be tasked with the chore. To make it even more uncomfortable for me my wife Cindy was pregnant with our son and you talk about crazy thoughts. Not only did I now have to worry about cleft lips and pallets (Thank God he was born without blemish) if you think I’m being shallow then you would have to know me. I have a cleft lip and pallet and to say I was relieved when my child didn’t  would be a huge understatement.  First thing I asked the nurse when she announced we had a boy was “What does he look like and is his lip okay? “ She looked at me a little funny and said “of course, it’s perfect.” So, yeah I had a lot going through my mind that day. But, I digress. Again. As usual.

Anyway, little Rusty which was the name of the child with Cerebral Palsy would be brought in most days by his harried mom and left at the center and in need of breakfast. The other children were kind. They would at times assist for a little while. Although, they soon would drift off to play as is normal. Can’t blame them at all. I remember one day we had a field trip and Rusty was left just sitting in his chair. Well out of the way of staff and others. The kids were playing and the other staff was otherwise engaged. Big surprise huh? So, I took him and placed him in a swing and held him while I let the swing go back and forth. I also later made sure he was placed with the other kids instead of being left in a corner in an out of the way place.  See why I despise Donald Trump now? But, I digress and this isn’t going to be turned into a political rant.

I once read a story about how the Nazi’s had hung a small Jewish child in a concentration camp. The child hung there and someone said “Where is God?” Someone else answered  “He’s hanging right there.” I don’t know the exact thing the author was trying to say. But, I’ll tell you my answer. God was hanging right there. I Am was and is incarnated in every being and act that we do to one another. Not in anger or hellfire and brimstone. Just in perfect witness and acknowledgment.

I was watching a documentary once. The person narrating said that some Nazi’s had gotten away with it. They had grown old and died full and fat and had managed to escape. I don’t think so. They might have grown old and died but they didn’t escape. Not because I’m religious and not because I think an angry old man in the sky threw em into a burning pit. But, because I think the eternal witness will be heard. I don’t think physic scars and horror just goes away. We are just here for a few short frantic precious horrible days. But, that’s not all we are. Not at all.

So, no I’m not one who believes it’s just a sperm lottery. I’m also not one to buy into the just so stories of religious dogma. I personally have my own belief but this isn’t the time or place. I don’t think I’m ready to articulate that right now.

Why am I still a Christian even though many Christians would call me a heretic and say I can’t be a Christian since I don’t take the creeds and scripture literally? Some atheist would call me a space cadet and a deluded dummy. But, here’s one reason the Incarnation of God into man/ Christ works for me. It may not work for you and that’s fine. I don’t think one size fits all in this world. Maybe not in any world. But, consider this.

Love isn’t just rushing into a burning building to rescue someone you love or even someone you don’t even know. That’s a version of love but it’s not the deepest version. Real love is to run in to the building and realize that you can’t get the one you love out of the building. Real love then sits there beside the one you can’t save or take out of the building. Real love is staying beside the one you wanted to rescue and being there with them even unto death. Even if it means you have to die too. That’s what the incarnation means to me. That’s why I still self identify as a Christian after all these years and all this journey.  That’s what the cross means to me. A comforting fairytale I  tell myself? Maybe. Maybe it’s the absolute truth. Either way. It works for me. Right now. Right here.