I just stared reading Kathy Escobar’s “Down We Go.”
In one paragraph in the first pages, she blew open my world.
Humility stems from a theology of brokenness, an honest acceptance of pain in our own lives and in the lives of others… Embracing a theology of brokenness also breaks down the divide between “us and them” and ways we remain protected from other people…
In the midwest, and especially in rural, german, blue-collar Iowa, pride is a big thing. We refuse to talk about our problems. We are quick to help others, but hesitate to accept help from others. We serve those who are less fortunate, and are not willing to speak of our own brokenness. And that is a problem.
Without being humble and admitting our brokenness, we will always have walls between us and others. We will always be helpers and not true participants in community. The kingdom of God is about a radical sharing of our lives with the Body of Christ… Warts and all. It is about allowing others to serve us, getting dirty alongside our brothers and sisters, and always remembering it is God who gives us strength… Not ourselves.
I have always thought that laying aside our pride was an important step in the move towards community – but there is something about the way that Escobar wrote that paragraph that really crystallized it for me.
Or perhaps it was the intersection of those words with a visit to the nursing home today.
I sat with a woman who spent her life taking care of other people. She was quick to lend a hand and prided herself on how little attention she paid herself. But now she can’t do that anymore. She relies on other people every single day of her life. She was forced to stop by health problems. And a caretaker who has no one to take care of can get very frustrated, indeed. But this lovely woman is swallowing her pride and asking for help. Today, I reminded her that is precisely why we are the Body of Christ… to take care of one another. That we have to recieve as well as give. That we have to allow others to serve and minister to us. It is a hard lesson for any of us to learn, and yet the only way we can truly accept one another as equals is if we start off in an equal place. We are all broken. We are all in need of the love and grace of God. We all have places of darkness and pain in our lives.
Thanks be to God that there are others to walk with us… and thanks be to God for raising us out of our brokenness into wholeness of life through Christ Jesus.