Back in January, Donald Miller wrote a blog post in which he explained that living a good story means envisioning climactic scenes in your life—reaching the top of Mt. Hood, renewing wedding vows, crossing a finish line, sharing a meal, meeting your sponsored child.
“Once you have that climactic scene in mind, you’ll know the scenes it takes to get there,” he said. “Write down what that climactic scene looks like, smells like and feels like. It will get in your brain and like good protagonist in a great movie, you’ll wake every day knowing what you are supposed to do with your time.”
I think about this whenever my pastor urges our little group of Christ-followers to ask ourselves, “What does reconciliation look like? Because that’s what we want The Mission to look like.”
What does reconciliation look like?
What does it smell like?
What does it sound like?
What does it taste like?
What does it feel like?
Reconciliation is such an abstract, theologically-loaded term that we forget it is ultimately a story, complete with characters, conflict, and climactic scenes. But this week I caught a few glimpses of reconciliation-in-action that inspired me to envision more climactic scenes in my life.
For Kristin (Halfway to Normal”), reconciliation meant feasting with strangers on fresh apricots and Madagascar chocolate.
(Photo by Kristin Tennant)
Writes Kristin, “There we sat at one very long table, facing one another. People in their 20s and in their 60s. Pastors and medical students, farmers and professional violists, mediation specialists and chocolate makers. A friend visiting the Midwest from San Francisco, and a dad holding a baby. Passing the roasted potatoes and finding out about each other. Refilling one another’s wine and water glasses and laughing together… Learning things we didn’t know before from people we didn’t know before.”
For Nathan (“It Seems to Me...”), it meant apologizing to the gay community for the way they have been treated by Christians and hugging a man in his underwear at Chicago’s gay pride parade.
(Photo by Michelle at maladjustedmedia.com)
Writes Nathan: “He stopped dancing. He looked at all of us standing there. A look of utter seriousness came across his face. And as the float passed us he jumped off of it and ran towards us. In all his sweaty beautiful abs of steal, he hugged me and whispered, 'thank you.' Before I had even let go, another guy ran up to me, kissed me on the cheek, and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. I almost had the wind knocked out of me; it was one of those hugs...This is why I do what I do. This is why I will continue to do what I do. Reconciliation was personified."
For Jamie (“The Worst Missionary”), it meant allowing her personal space to be violated by a Somali refugee.
Writes Jamie, “We walked six blocks like that. Six agonizing blocks, and she never said one word to me. Not one. We just walked along, sweating all over each other, and I do mean ALL over each other. We were touching, nearly from armpit to ankle, touching and walking…I learned, that day, that meeting with God can be painfully intimate business. But when I allow it, when I wrestle through it no matter how long it takes and no matter how uncomfortable I get, and when I hang on looong enough, in the end, God can* humble me, and He may*even bless me. And then, one of these days, I might* get to link arms with a stranger, and hold on to them as they fight it out, too.”
So, what does reconciliation look like in your life, in your community, and around the world? What climactic scenes have you experienced or envisioned?