…sorry this has taken so long to finish.
I’m amazed how God can teach such complex lessons all at the same time:
I was finishing up rounds this evening and was walking back to Walker when I watched a woman pass me on 6th street. I think it’s important to be congenial, so I try to make eye contact with her, and she made no attempt to do the same. In fact, I saw determination in her eyes to look straight ahead and make no attempt to see me. I became upset, because I thought first who is she not to pay me a simple nod, and then I thought how frustrating it was that in some ways it’s the society around us and the myraid of jackasses that make it a bad thing to look at people, because they very well might want to do bad things to her. I find that same concern for my students here who wander around Erie by themselves in shady areas of town because you never know what’ll happen.
That was in my head as I was walking back, and a guy came up behind me and next to me. He seemed nice enough, but I wasn’t sure… just seemed kind of shady. He then asks me “hey, does it smell funny here?” to which I replied why yes, it does smell funny maybe it’s the lake. We both agreed it was the lake. Following we had some awkwardness (you know when you’ve talked to someone, yet there really isn’t a whole lot more to talk about, but you feel inclined to speak beacuse you made a connection somewhere), and then he asked me what I did. I said I was an RD and a Campus Minister. He asked what that meant. He then said his parents were Methodist. He walked one way, and I another.
I was reminded of sin and grace. Sin and grace. Over and over. The brokenness of the world, and God’s willingness to love us anyway. The fact a woman can’t smile to me, and the fact a man talked to me who had no clue who I was. Sin and grace.
I have found that more than anything, I want the people around me – the students and non-students alike – to take that and live with it, reflect and be hurt and healed by it. We’re sinners, and God chooses to love us regardless. We are God’s beloved, but yet we ignore Him, we try to do things our own way, and we try to take a job we are poorly equipped for.
I say this as accuser and accused, because that’s brokenness. Sin and grace.