Thursday, August 10, 2006


I am prone to live in the world of abstraction. I enjoy philosophical language not only for it's poetry and ability to clarify, but because it can transport me into an ideal world. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. I was reading, re-reading, Subversive Spirituality by Eugene Peterson and he says that only stories can rescue us from abstraction. Once we lose our place in a Story, we tend to interpret the events in our lives disconnected from any greater meaning.

The lady who lives across the hall was arrested last night. Two police officers banged on her door, and in the matter of a minute or two, cuffed her and took her away. She talks to Annie almost every day, telling her about her recent divorce, custody battle and losing her daughter to her ex-husband. She's been drinking heavily nearly every day, and lost her job last week when she showed up drunk. She broke a restraining order yesterday, trying to get her daughter back. After the police took her, she never came home last night.

I tell you this because I have a question: How do you stay in a Story if the Story is filled with pain and heartbreak and loss? Peterson encourages us to revisit our Stories, to live in the concreteness of life, to abandon abstraction. I agree with him, but what he asks of us is almost impossible.

Peterson calls us to see our stories in the light of the bigger Story. Only there will the seemingly random occurences in our lives find the thread that will weave them all together.

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