I keep hearing The Script’s Breakeven when I’m in the car. The opening lines “Still alive but I’m barely breathing. Praying to a God that I don’t believe in…” I wonder how many people start to feel that at this time in the school year when people are tired, sick, maxed out, and papers/tests/projects/finals are creeping up? Heartbreak and things not seeming fair and things not going as planned, that’s not just college, that’s life. But the song is right in that sometimes things don’t “break even.”
Some seem to get all the breaks and others don’t. In this National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week, that seems really fitting. As we have walked in CROP for the hungry, as we’ve been packing boxes for children all over the world in Operation Christmas Child, as we have given up meals for Oxfam and are sleeping out Friday night for the homeless…as tough as we may have it – we’re still really, really lucky. That’s not just a cliche or empty words. I’m glad that in the love of God, we all come out even. I just hope that as the people of God, we do our best to even out the injustice, inequality, and crud in the world so that the light, love, grace, and truth of One who calls each of us is shown in all that we do and say.
Last week I had the honor of participating in the Killingsworth Gala in Columbia. Wearing high-heeled shoes when you’re already close to 6 feet tall is not something I choose to do in the day-to-day. Actually barefooted is much more like it. In the midst of getting ready (all white outfit with white fur hat and leopard print high heels = hilarious) though we all bonded. I ended up sitting beside a beautiful woman named Jenny and I helped her with her clothes. We were all really nervous.
I had no idea why Jenny was nervous until she walked out on the runway the second time and began to share her story. Killingsworth is a place for women to go that are emerging out of crises situations. Jenny very humbly and powerfully and eloquently shared her story with the over 700 people in attendance – her abusive past, her drug addiction, the loss of her children and then her truly turning her life around. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen or heard. That took so much guts to do in front of all those people!
After leaving that night I heard this song in the car. In thinking about her story and the story of students and friends and loved ones who have been through beyond hard situations and that helpless feeling that you feel especially when it looks like the other person or people are getting the breaks. Why is that?
I don’t think some of us have all the answers and I don’t think we should start spouting off things like if you do x, y, z then life will turn up roses. It’s hard to hear but I totally get what Becca was saying in her blog from the CDCA today. http://jhc-cdca.blogspot.com/2010/11/to-hell-with-good-intentions.html But I do think we each have a story to tell. In the midst of me not breaking my neck walking down the runway, the lovely mc said I was a walking miracle. That’s not necessarily someway you’d like to classify yourself because you then know everyone’s looking at you and thinking what happened to her? And that’s what Jenny asked me. So what did happen to you? Oh, just a brain tumor. No worries.
In the grand sceme of things – it really is no worries. I’m fine. And there are loads of people out there that are not. We each have a story to tell. Seriously. No brain tumor or drug addiction or bad car accident needed. We each have a story of redemption that does make us walking miracles. In some ways it may not be a big deal to us, but if we’re not sharing these stories than there’s a whole world out there that thinks they’re praying to some crazy punishing God that zaps some people and not the rest.
Things may not break even. But the gift of salvation is offered to each of us. And our stories tell that louder than anything else we can make up. A clergy colleague shared with our district clergy meeting last week something that his church did last year called Cardboard Testimonies. Apparently, a bunch of folks have done this at their churches. I love it. Not entirely ready to spring this on our church, but I like the challenge of sharing even a bit of your story with others.
Here’s the link. Check it out. http://www.vimeo.com/5088437
For more info on Killingsworth and they’re amazing work: http://www.killingsworthhome.org/page6.html