Tuesday, September 20, 2011


It seems as if the more I feel the need to write, the more I struggle with any sort of coherent flow of thought to put down. Sometimes it seems as if I am just chasing a cursor across a screen trying to catch a fleeting bit of insight or meaning and it never seems that I can catch it. I’ve even put down the Ipad this morning and returned to the old standby to see if that has any effect. I’m trying to build in a few moments of space to enjoy the beach, enjoy the caffeine, and to allow my mind to wander free on a fabulous Fall day in Seattle. It still seems hemmed in though.
My mind drifts to my 2 week old grandson Aiden as, at this very moment, he is enduring the first major trauma of his life on this earth. To protect his privacy, I won’t say any more than that this is one procedure that the male species best participates in as a baby…and the younger the better. On a grander scale of the traumas that he’ll most likely face along his journey, this one is relatively minor, but at the moment, I’m guessing that he’s not seeing life that way. Someday he’ll be able to appreciate what is being done on his behalf today, but not on this day. On this day, he just knows pain and discomfort.
Trauma is like that I guess. It can be a very subjective occurrence. It is all about context and experience. A great deal affects what some people see as trauma and others see as a growing experience. Some people use it, others wallow in it, and others still struggle back and forth between growing and wallowing. In my realm of influence, as a pastoral artist, I deal with the whole spectrum of people, their traumas, and also their responses to them. The paradox is that, while I am helping them to put theirs into perspective, chances are that I might be going through one or two of my own. People have asked me about pastoral loneliness…That’s where the pastoral thing can get a bit lonely.
I’m sure that, right at this moment, it would be difficult to explain to Aiden why this is happening to one of his most precious parts. He is not going to care, even if the doctor gave him a complete scholarly dissertation on the procedure. The hardest thing to explain to people of faith, in the midst of their trauma, is that they are not immune to it. Somewhere back in time, things got lost in translation as far as faith goes. Someone began the rumor that faith trumps trauma and if you have it, you won’t have to experience it. That is a lie from the pit of hell. The authority that we have on this issue is the “Book of Books” and it is one case study after another of good people going through bad things. The key to each is not what happens to them, but rather what they did with the experience. So it is with us. I see so many who are stronger from perfectly horrendous circumstances. I see others who are victims of relatively minor discomforts.
In the end, Aiden will neither remember this nor list this on his list of life’s 10 biggest challenges. Right now, it doesn’t matter. But he does have one saving grace. When it’s over he gets to rest in the arms of a loving parent. I know him well enough to know that this is all that he’ll need to get through this time. It’s really all any of us need.

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