Well, You Don’t Have to Cry About It . . . Or do you?
My family is a bunch of cry babies. My husband sobbed watching “Stewart Little” (the cartoon version) when Stewart ran away from home thinking his family was better off without him. My son sniffled his way through “Bolt” (also a cartoon) when Bolt thought that his owner had replaced him with another dog. My daughter mourned for days after a Disney marathon that shook her reality: we don’t live in a castle, own a horse, or sing while mopping — she is actually NOT a princess.
I tend to bawl over more significant things. Like scrapbooking.
One of my favorite one liners is that “if it’s not really a verb, I probably won’t like it.” I don’t scrapbook, baby shower, Scentsy. And I definitely do not origami.
So imagine my horror when, just months after my husband accepted a job as their youth pastor, I received an invitation from our new church to attend the Ladies Scrapbooking Weekend. It was in January. On the rainy Oregon Coast. In a little house. There would be nothing to do, but scrapbook and crafts. My husband asked me to go, for him, and I did.
On a dreary Saturday morning, I pulled up to the little cottage on the beach, parked my car, and started sobbing. It was one of those deep sobs, too, causing my whole body to shake. For all intents and purposes it was absolutely ridiculous. No words could articulate where the emotion came from. Just this overwhelming sense that what awaited me inside was both unfamiliar and uncomfortable. I could not relate. I could only cry.
I possess a deep compassion for people who cannot palate Creative Memories Conferences and who find no joy in smelling diapers with melted candy bars in them. I struggle to share that same compassion with people who don’t love to run, don’t buy organic apples, don’t think a three-hour spin class sounds like a great idea. It is easy to empathize, sympathize, even coddle those who are like me. My efforts to relate are less concerted, if I do not understand you — don’t think I can relate to you.
As a Christian, I cling to the mind-boggling truth that Jesus was both 100% man and 100% God. I rely on His humanity as access to His deity. The scriptures teach me that because of His humanity, Jesus can relate to me. He faced tests and temptations, experienced pleasure and pain, felt hunger and hurt. He understands. I come to Him with confidence because He gets my weakness. And He, who knows Deity, chooses humanity when I approach Him. He is a compassionate High Priest.
Yet, I, who have no Deity except Christ in me — I choose judgment more often than mercy. I admire the humanitarian I see in Jesus, and forget that I ought to be that humanitarian. I expect a perfection from those around me, that I myself could never attain. I make our differences greater than the one thing we will always have in common: we are all human. We are flawed by nature, imperfect in practice, in need of understanding.
You may never comprehend why I cry at a scrapbooking party, and I may never understand why you shudder when I invite you for a run. But I understand what it means to struggle and to succeed, to laugh and to mourn, to know distress and to know joy. We can always relate. It begins with knowing our own humanity and experiencing the humanitarian in Christ.
I don’t remember much about that Scrapbook weekend now. I think I actually enjoyed it. I do remember I never scrapbooked, but one of the ladies went for a run with me . . . I hope someday I will be able to say that I did the same for you . . . to say that I went the extra mile. One human being to another.