Since I last posted I graduated from Harvard Divinity School with an MDiv degree. The day was May 31st and it was about 100 degrees. Today I can’t fathom such heat. Today the weather was around 10 degrees, considering wind chill, and Boston got close to 5″ of snow. Yes, the weather has our attention today as it did back in May – the extremes get attention.
And now I wonder about this tendency to look up when life throws an extreme situation. Like someone screaming ‘Stop him – he stole my wallet!” – Our community’s calm, that was taken for granted, is shattered and we look up toward the crisis or we look away. I wonder if something is missed or gained by this acute attention to discomfort? Perhaps there is a gain: a reminder that gratitude was missed on better days? A two-for-one!
And so I pause to consider the life stress I have with family – another member has a tough bout with mental illness and we are all looking up. I missed out on claiming the good days! I miss them. But this is our family’s long day’s journey into night, again. I must be present, cell phone at my side.
It is times like this that I consider the meaning of life and these strange bodies and the membrane that separates this life from the ‘other side.’ It seems to be thin as a child, thickens midway and thins again as the years pile up. I am not to worry but notice. How can there be any worry when the outcome seems foregone well before there was awareness of a crisis. It is a bit late to worry.
So, I think when we look up in a crisis, it is too late. That is like looking up when two cars crash in an intersection. Now it is about intervention after the fact, not prevention. It would seem to be the same story about teens and prostitution. By the time a runaway lands in prostitution, that teen has pretty much given up on the reliability of home-adults to be a support. Hello, that was why most run away. Why did we, as a society, not look up to see this teen’s family in crisis before the crisis got an additional pile-on of prostitution, a secondary event? To then show up for this teen with a ‘rescue wagon’ with an anti sex-trafficking message seems pathetic. Why not deal with the primary cause? No message about family’s coping with teen life or is that not enough of a fund-raising appeal?
Tie this to today’s weather? Okay. It would be like a young teen asking for a warm coat (at best) before they walked 3 miles to school. Maybe the teen refuses to wear a coat (worst case) but the adult does not look up to do anything about a coat – the house is warm and the adult is complacent and negligent. The kid goes out in the extreme weather and gets frostbite on the way to school, landing in the emergency ward. The crisis call from the hospital causes the parent to finally look up but by now it is too late. Do we run an educational campaign or outreach about families having clothing protocols in place that keeps everyone safe, regardless of the weather? (Yes) This would be a primary concern: support families to function as families. A secondary event is underage kids and frostbite. Its the catch basin. Kinda too late.
Parents miss cues. I know with my five, I missed cues to look up before a crash more than once. This time is not the case. And this time a crash just might happen anyway. You do what you can.
This is a time for the Serenity Prayer.
God, Grant me the Serenity to accept the tings I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdome to know the difference. Amen