Last Monday, after a lot of thinking, I wrote a post to Franklin Graham. Graham had made a public statement that I felt was deeply hurtful and out of line. I wrote it in defense of many of my friends. It ended up being shared far more than I anticipated, largely because some kind friends with more influence than me passed it on.
The more it was shared, the more comments I received, and the more I had to screen the comments.
I was up for it – after all, I had written it, published it publicly, and I needed to take ownership of what I had written. That’s what grown-ups do.
But grown-ups also need to know their boundaries. They need to know that a personal web site is not a democracy. Everyone doesn’t get to have their comments published. So when comments were rude, when they were ad hominem attacks toward me or my Muslim friends, when they simply criticized and did not add to the discussion, I deleted them from my email. They never saw the blog site. They were extinguished.
I thought I was doing well. We had a blueberry pancake breakfast as a family. I began cleaning a kitchen cupboard, with hopes of ridding our kitchen of some pesky moths.
And then a can fell onto two of my favorite wine glasses that were resting on the counter, and suddenly I was a mess. Shards of glass were everywhere, and tears blurred my vision. I loved the wine glasses – they were purchased during our last trip to Egypt, a time when Egypt was deep in the stress of a post uprising chaos. But my tears felt way more powerful than grieving a mere material thing. As I swept up the shards, I suddenly knew why.
I realized that those comments felt like shards of glass to my soul, to my heart.
My son came to help. “You okay, mom?” He asked the question with compassion. This child is child of my heart. He knows these things. I nodded my head but kept my face down.
Shards of glass at the ready. Shards that cut and hurt. Shards with potential to destroy. That’s what we are like – ready to attack with shards of glass when we disagree, instead of grace and careful words. We humans are a passionate people about our own views. All of us, whether we choose to comment or not. And our passion can be good, but when it contains shards of glass, we intend for it to hurt. We want to destroy with our words.
So we swept up shards of glass together, and I said the Jesus Prayer. Because in truth, that’s the only thing preventing me from piercing others with shards of my own.