First, a disclaimer: both the book and the article I'm going to link to in this post got me riled up in such a way that they led to me writing this, but I don't necessarily consider this post a critique of either one. Also, I have no idea why the fonts got so nutty after I quoted the other article. Right now I'm trying to hold myself to getting my thoughts out there without too much worry about formatting, so that's why I'm not fixing it :)
A few Saturdays ago, I was reading the wonderful book Tattoos on the Heart by Father Gregory Boyle, and as I was reading, I found myself getting more and more agitated about a situation that happened in my life/family/ministry/community. Unfortunately, because in some ways it's ongoing and in other ways to describe it would be to call people out, I can't go into the details. Broadly, I can say that it involved a family (not mine), a transgression, and my desire to offer forgiveness.
So I'm reading the book, and it has all kinds of profound anecdotes about conversations that have happened between Father G and the homies with whom he works, and I start imagining that I'm going to go to the home of this family and I'm going to extend myself and we're going to have this profound conversation and the youth who committed the transgression is going to see my boundless compassion and I'm going to make an everlasting impact on his life. (Yeah, I can see that when I write it out that my thoughts are straight up delusional.) And then someone rings the doorbell and asks me for a ride to precisely the neighborhood where this family lives and it feels like a sign from God that I should go talk to the family.
We get there and I go to their apartment and things start going really differently. First, the youth in question is not home. Second, I realize as I launch in to referencing "the incident" that there is not one flicker of recognition on his mom's face. Then, I realize that I am probably in the role of informing her what happened, and she doesn't even know. And finally, she denies that he had any role in the incident whatsoever, which then leads me to doubting myself and the information I've received.
Long story short, it went NOTHING like any of the profound conversations in the book.
Then this morning, I read this post, which is lovely and also profound and I'm not criticizing at all, but when I read this passage, I found myself wanting to scream: