I once walked away from a car crash with only a bruised sternum. It was nothing really and yet controlled my every breath for about three weeks. I dreaded sneezing and I never laughed. Things that fell on the floor stayed there and nobody was allowed to hug me. I woke up and fell asleep accommodating my invisible bruise. Before last week I didn’t know my spirit has a sternum too. I’m sore from grief over the turn we’ve taken as a country. I’m tender just knowing that my saying so upsets others. I’ve begun to read the news again. Bland bits in small bites is all I can keep down. By next week I might be able to watch television or listen to the radio. But not yet. My knees are weak and my heart still hurts.
At first I called it lost civility. But I don’t think we lost it. I think it was tossed away ~ unwanted by enough of us that it shall be the fate of all of us who resign ourselves to live as if the ones who won shall rule the climate and the content of our life together from now on. Should such a fate become our history, we’ve no one to blame but ourselves.
Slowly but already I am finding my feet, remembering what I’ve claimed for years. Before I am American, before I am white, before I am female, before I was or am anything that others call me or I call myself, Jesus called me to follow him. To be his disciple. He is not interested in my good reasons regarding his bad timing (Luke 9:57-62). He called me to follow. Not once in the gospels does anything important begin with the faith of human beings. It begins with the call of Christ. It continues with the obedience of disciples. Faith flows from obedience. From faith gained flows continued obedience. Call. Obedience. Faith. Obedience. Faith. Obedience. In maturity faith and obedience become indistinguishable.
Civility, as it turns out, has absolutely nothing in common with Christian discipleship. Civility is nothing but the thinnest veneer of decency. It burns like tissue when frustration and fears are flamed. Shame on me for ever confusing them. Shame on me for grieving what Jesus called me to give up long ago. Yet, the greater shame is in delusion, in not owning our own weakness, in failing to offer it up and leave it behind to walk into this new day on stronger legs, with stouter hearts, hearing the call of Christ which hasn’t changed: follow me.