For the love of guns and flooding

The typical thing would be to say, “I’m not looking for a debate” when posting about a touchy subject. The reason we’d state that is because we just want to speak our minds without being challenged. We want to believe what we already believe and nothing more, nothing less. It’s our right, I suppose, to our opinion where things like this are concerned.

The river is flooding the town here.

I look at this flooding, around the issue of mass shootings, gun violence in general and the specter of “gun control” in this country and I think, This is the river and the river is flooding the town.

We are drowning, one by one. The fields are marshy. The cars cannot move. The water has risen to the point where we forget where it ends and where we begin. The water is cold, but we’ve been in it so long that we have forgotten the cold. It’s tempting, perhaps, to speculate that it is the water that’s warmed to our skin, rather than to recognize the truth of it. We’re losing touch. Our skin is numb. We cannot feel our feet or hands. Extremities have no more information to give us.

We cannot leave it all to the civil engineers. This is our town, after all. It’s important for us to keep moving, to support the work of the people who are meant to help us understand what’s happening. When they look at the river, we want to know that they see the river bed, the water, the boundaries, the tributaries, the ocean that feeds it. We want to be sure they see the weather patterns, the global implications, the wheat fields and strip mining. We want to support the clean-up efforts, the burial rites, the grief process, the replanting along the riverbank.

We are drowning here.

Come up to the high ground. It’s a sacrifice to leave the trenches dug out to protect long-held beliefs, property, fears that have been inlaid since we were young, injured, fortified. It’s not enough to dig the trenches. The water is too much. The river is too swollen. The factors are too many and too powerful.

And we are drowning here.

It’s time to come up to high ground. We all want to live.

welcoming the prodigal…

A while back I had a friend whose grown son had wandered from him. It tore my friend up inside, trying to figure out the best way to still be father to a son who had essentially turned his back to him. My friend, B. is a great man. I love him an awful lot.

The place most of us might go if we’re bible reading folks is the story of the prodigal son so I went there as well. As I read it, though there was a bit in it that I struck me; a part I know I’ve read before but it never really made sense to me until that moment:

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Lk 15 v20

While he was a long way off….this hit me so hard at that moment. It still does today for whatever reason as I ponder it again. I was struck that the father was, in effect, waiting for the son…perhaps, looking for him each day, wondering if this was the day he’d return. I was struck by the hope that represented. I love that.

I was thinking today of the friends and family I have in my life who have wandered from me because of disagreement and difficulty. In moments when it seems there is nothing more I can do in a relationship I am reminded today that waiting by the door, watching…this is still something. I thought today about what it might look like for me to have the posture of the father; waiting, hopeful, compassionate, ready to forgive. Perhaps in this way I will see them return while they are still a long way off and I can run to them with real joy and true celebration.