My “Oops” moment and he/she pronouns
I didn’t! But I did. Gulp. I did. I called the employee of a nearby retail store by one pronoun—he—when the identity of this thoughtful, attentive person wasn’t obvious.
Did I do something wrong? Yes.
Did the employee hear me? Hopefully not. (I wasn’t loud.)
Did I immediately feel sorrowful? Yes.
Was this scene about me and my comfort? No.
A week has passed since this happened and I still feel like I didn’t love like God calls me to love because I didn’t love as God calls me to love.
The sales associate at the sales register likely wasn’t tuned into me because my seven-year-old foster child, otherwise (and endearingly) known as Little Miss Sunshine, dominated the scene with her animated, joyful banter. When she gets excited—and oh, she was excited—she can be LOUD.
My foster daughter daily experiences the traumas of her past. Together, we work on her social skills so that she’ll learn appropriate boundaries. Cashiers are always excellent sources for Miss Sunshine to practice healthy conversation.
We have yet to talk with a retail employee who hasn’t immediately picked up on Miss Sunshine’s needs and obliged accordingly with great and deep kindness.
Maybe twenty-something men wear eye makeup now. I would use a hair gel in my twenties that gave my hair a blue cast. This was the 80s. Things evolve.
I didn’t notice the eye makeup immediately, but my point in the column is this: we are called love. Period. There’s nothing more complicated here. No slants or angles are necessary.
And love of neighbor—and especially love of enemy—has never been about our comfort. It’s always about how God can be heard, shared and experienced.
I share this experience in this week’s writing because it’s Lent. Each Lent, I pray for God to challenge me, to teach me something new.
God is teaching me something new.
I embrace this.
I pray that God is teaching you something new, too.
Remember I said Lent is teaching me something new? I pray this 40-day journey to the cross is teaching you something—or stretching something—in you during what could be your “Oops” moment turned to message, whatever that moment turned to message may be.
I get that some of us feel God calling us to preach His love, to set the crooked straight.
You know—you’ve seen and heard—preaching done well and preaching done corrosively. And I’m not just talking about preaching from a pulpit. I’m also talking about preaching in an experience like the one I’m writing of here.
God does hold wrath. Jesus is coming back to judge.
This is God. This is Jesus.
We are neither God nor Jesus. We are, by identity, called to love. What does this love mean? What does it look and sound like?
Ah, here comes Lent 2022.
I don’t think we know it all. In fact, what I do know is that we don’t know it all.
But we can keep learning. Most importantly, we can keep loving.