Men, we have some work to do. Not the physical labor that I so much enjoy. You know the type: the kind of work that gives you the feeling of accomplishment because you just sweat (and perhaps bled) a lot. The kind of work that ends up with a finished, physical product that you've been able to build with your bare hands. No, the work we have is much harder, and much more complex - which is probably why we haven't done it yet. We like to check things off our list, and feel accomplished. We don't like to sit and think about ourselves as the problem. But that doesn't mean it's untrue.
I'm talking about sexism.
On this Holy Saturday, I’ve been reflecting a bit on the story of Jesus’ betrayal. Growing up, I always listened to the scripture readings with incredulity. How could Judas betray his teacher, his friend? How could Peter deny the living God, the Savior in the flesh? These were Jesus’ closest friends, the people he trusted with his teachings. Yet in the end, they all scattered, afraid for their own lives.
The older I get, the more I see myself in Judas, and find myself speaking the words of Peter. I hear myself zealous one moment, and utterly ignoring the call of God the next. I pass up the hungry on the street, and avoid the hurting and broken hearted because it’s convenient. I’ve come to the realization that I am Judas. I am Peter.
Last week, there was a decision made today in the highest court of law of the United States. I can tell, because my Facebook feed was a constant stream of posts from people in my life who are rejoicing with the news, and the people in my life opposing the decision. Before I had heard the news, my Facebook wall was flooded with people posting opinions, videos, links, and other such things.
As of last week, in all 50 United States, no matter what your sexual orientation is, you can get married. You might think this post is about why homosexuality is right or wrong or does/doesn't matter. But it's not. This post is about how, as a heterosexual Christian male, I am okay with this news. In fact, I can say I appreciate the outcome and I'm happy to hear this news. I can't help but find the timing interesting, considering that tomorrow is the day we celebrate American Freedom.
Death seems to have been a part of my life since I entered this world.
When I was born, my mother went into anaphylactic shock in response to some of the medicine they gave her and ended up in a coma. A few weeks later, as she lay there with no brain activity, my father had to make the gut-wrenching decision to take her off of life support. When I was 14 my mother’s sister died after a long bout with cancer. At around age sixteen, I lost my birth mom’s father to cancer, and just a month later my step-mom’s dad to ALS. And just a few years back I found myself racing against time as my car flew down a North Dakota highway at speeds better left unmentioned so I could say goodbye to my grandpa on my dad’s side. He had a brain-bleed and was unconscious; my dad’s voice cracked on the phone as he said “Come as soon as you can, he doesn’t have much time.”
It seems like death has followed me my entire life, and in reality it has. It follows each of us, a dark shadow over an otherwise pretty decent existence. One could say we are born dying, each day moving closer to our last breath. It’s an inevitability, something we can count on. What’s the old saying? Nothing is certain except death and taxes.
This last week, I and many of my friends - really, the entire Concordia University St. Paul community - have been reeling with the news that we lost one of our own. Devin McCauley, a 21 year old senior, so full of life, so vibrant and passionate and abundantly caring of every person he met, has died. He is gone. I’m still grappling with that fact. I guess the picture of irony is me writing this post when I really don’t have any words for this situation.
Listen. Do you hear that?
That is the sound of 17 years of schooling grinding to a hault. It's the sound of years of learning swirling around, of the brain recognizing that it's only just begun to grasp the universe around it. It is the noise of a restless mind tipping, turning, flipping, examining, filing, and meditating.
I've finally graduated college, and I suddenly find myself in a place I've never been. The scenery seems to echo familiarity, but suddenly everything is new and different and strange. Nothing has changed, but everything has shifted. Life has taken one of it's quantam leaps and forgotten to inform me of the trajectory change.