I’ve tripping over this picture for months and months, I’ve carried it around in my head, tucking it away, all but forgetting it’s existence and then something will make me think of it and I’ll stumble over it again.
I’ve wanted to capture how I feel about it, but my thoughts have hung like a stubborn water drop, refusing to let go, to let me flick it loose and capture it.
But now…I think I shall try nonetheless.
It’s the image of Oscar Pistorius, the man who had both of his legs amputated before he was even a year old, the man also known as The Blade Runner. It’s an image of him leaning down next to a little girl, a little girl also has blades for legs, they’re running, he’s smiling, and he’s letting her win.
It’s one of those wonderful images that stings your eyes, warms your heart, and restores your faith in humanity…until you learn that Oscar has been accused of premeditated murder of his girlfriend, shooting her, that he’s wrestled with anger problems his whole life, and then there’s the image of him, bending over, laughing and letting a little disabled girl win a race.
He hasn’t been convicted yet, but to me that’s besides the point.
Every time I think of that picture, it makes me ache.
What a stark contrast.
We watch videos online or strangers helping other people, giving their coats to a cold little boy, and we act as if humanity was something that was worth having faith in and then we look around at the world we live in, with suicide bombings, mass shootings, genocides and holocausts…and it’s sometimes hard to reconcile the two.
So we like to paint dark lines separating the two. We sanitize the heroes and we tarnish the villains.
We pretend that a person can be more or less than a person.
We like to do this with the Bible, we like to separate Moses from his mistrust, David from his affair, and both from their murders. We dissect Solomon from his concubines, Joseph from his arrogance, and Peter from his doubts.
We turn angrily and declare we don’t understand how people can do they horrible things that they do, and then we name a million horrible things that we wish would happen to them, revealing the darkness in our own hearts…
"There but for the grace of God go I…” sounds good when it slips from one’s lips—but do we understand the weight of those words? Do we realize how incredibly finite and helpless we are?
Had I been born to radical Muslims in the middle of a war zone, who would I be? Had I been given abusive parents instead of the loving ones I have...where would I be?
How dependent are we all?
Did we have anything to do with what DNA we were given or where we were born or who we were born to?
Let me take that serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine from your brain and let’s see how long you stay sane.
Let me zip of the childhood and genetic make up of another person on you and see if you do much better than they do.
This doesn’t excuse any amount of sin or ache, but may we…may I have humility and breath grace in all things.
There is a holocaust architect in each of us.
"Guilty of one, guilty of all."
Thank God for grace. Sweet, amazing grace.