When I drive to church on Sunday I like to take notice of all the people I see. I’m usually by myself because I have to be to church much earlier than the rest of my family. Call it distracted driving or simply taking it all in but I like to think about the people I see. The man selling newspapers, the woman pulling a wagon with a dog riding along, the group of men biking in their multi-colored spandex suits…I like to imagine what their day will hold. I wonder if they will go to church today, if they will share a meal with family, or if they’ll be alone.
Of course I’ll probably never know for certain but it’s just a fun little thing I do. I make up stories.
This morning, as I was about to pull into the church parking lot I noticed a woman walking by herself. She appeared, at first, to be carrying a large stick of some sort. As I got a little closer I realized she was carrying a sledgehammer. It’s long wooden handle was held tight in her grip and the large mallet was swinging near the side walk.
I instantly started wondering what her story was.
Maybe she was recently attacked by a ferocious dog wall minding her own business on her morning walk. She is probably afraid of seeing the dog ( or any dog ) again and she wants to carry protection.
Maybe someone jumped out from the trees and flashed her sometime back. She was listening to headphones, singing a song, and didn’t hear the rustling in the brush and was suddenly confronted by a man in a trench coat showing her his goods. She screamed, he ran, and she couldn’t give the police a good description of his face. He was never found. She’s carrying that sledge hammer just in case.
Or maybe she’s spent too much time on social media that last couple of days. Her friends from bridge club, a few old high school classmates, and that lady from the library (what is her name?) have all been posting articles about the lies of Trump/Obama/Clinton/Huffington Post/Fox News…. They all claim to have the true story. They know our country is doomed. Someone is going to come and take away our insurance and raise out mortgage and call our vaginas ugly names. Russia is going to bomb us, the Muslims are going to burn our Bibles, and Dear God….WHO IS GOING TO MAKE IT TO THE SUPER BOWL?!?!??!?!? She’s very worked up because of the visceral energy and she’s afraid to comment or post because she doesn’t want to offend or be attacked. She’s completely on edge, not thinking clearly, and her husband told her she needs some fresh air and a break from her phone. She slides on her sneakers, begrudgingly, and heads out for a walk but in her agitated state of mind she picks up a sledgehammer. It totally seemed logical to her in the moment.
I don’t know. It could have been any of those options. Or none. I don’t know.
There are other things I don’t know. Like what’s going to happen tomorrow. My family, my home, my friends, my job, my kids schools….there are uncertainties in all those areas.
Here’s what I do know. Carrying a sledgehammer isn’t going to make any of it better.
If I spend too much time (and right now “too much time” feels like any time) on social media I am going to read things I don’t agree with. I’m going to see people with different points of view. I’m going to see articles posted that may or may not contain facts. I’m going to see friends attacking each other and saying mean and nasty things. And I’m going to get caught up in it all. I’m going to keep scrolling and keep opening and keep looking for someone to say something that feels kind or good or nice. And frankly, there’s not a lot of that out there right now.
And it’s not Obama’s fault.
And it’s not Trump’s fault.
And it’s not a women’s issue.
And it’s not a men’s issue.
It isn’t an LGBQT issue.
It’s a heart issue. It’s an issue where our hearts are full of sin and hatred that need to be covered by Jesus.
This morning at church we sang one of my favorite songs (This Dust) and I couldn’t help but think about how broken we all are. Every single one of us is flawed and but we can’t seem to wait to point our fingers and raise our fists and yell at each other, pointing out the nastiness we see. And yet it’s that nastiness that Jesus came to save; it’s the worst in us that he died for. We don’t have to live in fear and we don’t have to harbor angst because he’s seen the worst. He’s faced it and he’s conquered it. He’s with us. He’s got this.
So maybe we all take a little break. Maybe we turn off Facebook for a day or two. Maybe we shut off our Twitter feed for a few hours and turn off the news. Not forever. Just for a little while.
Let’s all go for a walk by the lake. Let’s rake some leaves. Let’s use our God-given bodies and breathe in the fresh air he has given us.
How about we invites some friends over to watch football and we share a meal?
Whatever we do, let’s all lay down our sledgehammers for a while. They’re awful heavy to carry around and they make us look crazy.