The Hard Question

It has been a little over a week since I attended my last class at Campbell University Divinity School. Even so, I don’t think it has registered with me that I’m actually (finally) finished with my program there. Perhaps it will feel “more real” when I have my diploma in my hand or when, in late Spring, I walk across the stage in a ceremony and fancy garments to commemorate the occasion.

With a bit of a homework hangover and some fancy new letters behind my name I am doing precisely the work I was before, and still feel it is what I am supposed to be doing at present. Some days unfold like bright shining adventures while some are truly arduous but I am content to stay where I am fostering the relationships that I have until what I am supposed to do next becomes clear(er).

That I will never “feel ready” for the task was made abundantly clear as I went to speak with some 4-6 year-olds about my friends who do not all live in houses yesterday. We had a good talk and things were going well. At the end of my time there I asked if anyone had any questions. Perhaps next time I will be more specific, asking whether or not anyone has any questions about what we have been talking about. My first and last question came from a little boy in a red sweater with a firetruck and a dalmation on it. Raising his hand, he asked me sincerely, “Miss Sarah, why did that man shoot all of those people?” And so I did the best I could, not only to answer his question but not to begin to cry the ugly cry in front of this group of captive children. I tried to answer him honestly and with integrity in language and concepts appropriate for the group in a way that indicated that there are many many more good people than those that sometimes do bad things.

Thinking on this answer later, I couldn’t help think how and why I believe that and to what extent it shapes my everyday actions. I see a lot of things on a near-daily basis in the work that I do that break my heart in new and unprecedented ways but the reason that I do this, that I have not reached a point where doing anything seems futile, is that I do believe that there are so many more good hearts in good people all around us than there are bad days, circumstances or incidences of bad behavior (even the shocking one as our country witnessed last Friday). Goodness may not be as easily recognizable as evil but it is certainly more bountiful. Of the two, which have you trained your eyes to see?

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