Tuesday, October 12, 2010

troubled times

The internet has been abuzz with news of the restructuring of the ELCA and the subsequent loss of jobs for the 60-65 ELCA and global mission personnel.

I don't know enough about it to comment much. I can't say "They should have done..." or "Why didn't they think about..." or "They had no good reason to..."

All I know is that some changes had to be made, and they resulted in some pretty wonderful people losing their jobs, and some programs that are important to me losing (more) funding. Neither of which are desirable, and neither of which probably would have happened in a better economy.

What I can say is that in the midst of uncertainty, in the midst of pain and anguish, in the midst of questions and anger and frustration, there is God.

And I can say, with certainty, that with God and with each other, we will continue together on this journey, with all of its ups and downs and twists and turns.

And I can say, with certainty, that there is a Light at the end of this tunnel. It shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not, and will not, overcome it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A lesson on the Body of Christ

It's funny how one little thing can cause us to think about how we do just about everything else in our lives.

Wednesday of this past week started out just like most every Wednesday. I hit my snooze button several times. I begrudgingly got out of bed. I walked around my house in a sleepy fog. I took a shower, got dressed and went over to the office.

In the office, things went like usual, too. I checked my e-mail. I started to put together the power point presentation for Confirmation that evening.

But then I realized I needed to do something back at my house. And, since I live right across the street, it's not that big of a deal to run home. So, I did.

The thing I needed to do was in a room where I don't allow my cats to be unsupervised. They have a knack for causing mischief and I'd rather they not do it in this particular room. So I keep the door closed. But, to get the door to latch, it needs to be shut hard. If one does not shut it hard, the door does not latch and the cats can push the door open and run amok. Which they do nearly every time the door isn't shut tight.

So, to close this door, I usually shut it hard. Or, slam it, really. Which breaks most mothers' cardinal rule. But no mother lives at my house, so it's ok. I slam this door most every time I shut it.

Now, give me a second to explain. I don't slam the door by pulling on the door knob. Most of the time I just grab the edge of the door and give it a yank as I leave. It works most of the time.

Actually, it worked really well this time, only my finger was still in it.

*** At this point, we might use some descriptive language that could cause those of a weaker constitution to become a bit queasy. If this is you, you might want to go look at pictures of rainbows and kittens and unicorns for a while, instead. ***

It took me but a split second to realize my finger had been slammed in the door. I pulled my hand toward me, and I'm not sure if the yelling took place in my head or if I actually verbalized it. But then I looked at my finger and realized I didn't see my finger nail. I also realized I didn't see my finger tip. And then I thought it looked like I could see the bone. Turning my hand, I saw my fingernail and fingertip were still attached, they were just doing their best impression of a PEZ dispenser.

So, I closed my finger and then realized I needed to seek medical attention. I also realized I was in no shape to drive myself there. I needed to get back to the office and ask someone there for assistance. So, I determined that I was not going to pass out in my house, and I would not pass out in the street. If I was going to pass out, it would have to be in the office where someone would be present to aid me. This meant I needed to get over to the office quickly.

Clutching my injured hand, I quickly walked over to the office where the secretary and the custodian were talking. Bursting in the door, I said, "I need to go to the hospital!"

The custodian looked at me, the expression on his face not reflecting the urgency or concern that I, at that moment, deemed necessary. "To the hospital or to the doctor?" He asked.

"I don't know!" I said. "I slammed my finger in the door and will most likely need stitches!"

"Oh," he said. "The doctor, then. They can do that at the clinic."

"Ok," I said. Then, feeling a little woozy, I said, "I need to sit down."

So the secretary took me to the clinic, where I was x-rayed. It was determined that I did a pretty good job of demolishing my finger. The skin was torn and, to use the Doctor's medical terminology, was basically "turned to hamburger." I destroyed the nail bed, and chances are good that I will never grow a nail on that finger again. I also managed to possibly crack the tip of my finger, but the Dr determined there wasn't much that could be done about that. So he cleaned my wound, stitched my finger closed, put on a splint and wrapped it up. I was prescribed an antibiotic, to prevent infection, and a pain killer to use if necessary. I was then sent on my merry way.

*** If you haven't already, you can probably stop looking at fluffy, pretty things now and continue with the story. ***

Considering what I did, it hasn't been that bad. But it has made me mindful of things I take for granted - things you never really noticed your middle finger on your non-dominant hand played such a big part in. Like, tying your shoes. Zipping your pants. Bringing in your groceries. Typing on the keyboard. All sorts of other things. Things that were easy and I did without much thought now must be done differently or a lot more slowly and deliberately so to avoid or reduce the amount of pain that accompanies them.

Of course, being a church nerd, I can't help but think of the theological implications - we are the Body of Christ, and we are all important. Even those of us who we consider to be middle fingers on non-dominant hands are important and valuable. Sometimes it just takes a little pain or discomfort for us to realize it.