My sister tells me about her trip to the local Pharmacy and the woman she saw there, the lady with a cart full of kids.
The woman tells her children she will give them bloody noses when they get home if they don’t STOP IT. My sister cries in the car and together we say “blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted”. It is hard to believe in comfort when things are ugly, but we cling to words that don’t make sense to us.
Then there’s the struggling alcoholic who is singing hymns and slicing apples, talking about Jesus and slipping back to distilled agave a few days later. It would be easier to ignore the smell and the double talk, to just keep loving on her, but maybe mercy comes in harder forms, and blindness is not something Children of Light provide.
I took my boys to church in a new town. There was free food and many children running around and there was more dirt than I was used to, and more yelling, and more convicted felons. A lady screamed at her son to come back and you could hear the anger in her voice and I wanted to tell her to stop yelling.
Instead I took my son to wash in the bathroom and there we saw a cartoon squirrel poster announce, “Jesus Saves.”
Oh, He saves little squirrel. I believe it. He saves in the dark places. And there is dark all around here, dark I can see.
I see you, I see you! Man with the gang tattoos, alcoholics, poor people who scream in public.
I come from a place where the dark stays behind doors, and here it slips out in the open. It is in the face of darkness though, light really matters, Jesus really saves. So I am grateful for the ugly, because it makes more of the Cross than a cartoon squirrel. Our truth is more valuable when it’s facing hate, blood and pain.
Salvation is not cheap. The dark places are terrible and strong, but a light shines in the darkness…always, always, and the darkness does not overcome it.