Reading a disturbing book on the flight to JFK about the genocide in Bosnia 20 years ago (we all have our hobbies), then some lighthearted short stories, folk tales really, by Gogol . . .
Seeing the incredible art in New York’s amazing museums, carefully maintained, then stepping outside to see God’s homeless artwork on the streets, casually defiled . . .
Standing on the train watching people’s eyes dull or bright, engaged or disengaged, seeking relationship or solitude. Watching two young men on two different trains, seemingly self-absorbed and hard-edged, sweetly help two elderly women with their heavy bags as if they were their own grandmothers . .
Texting and talking to my friend and colleague Nicole in Isla Vista after the murders . . . This one is personal for me, gut-wrenching. I worked there. It’s one of my sacred places. The victims are my son’s age – it could be him – and he has friends there – it could be them. My son is safe. His friends are safe. Others’ loved ones are dead. Nicole texts: “enjoy” my week in New York. And I do: seeing loved ones, younger friends who are also old friends, seeing their children. It’s life-giving, heart-warming . . .
When I think of epiphanies, I most often think of revelations of God. But theology also explores the intricacies of human nature always on display every moment of every day. Which best represents human nature – Bosnia, Isla Vista, the museums, my loved ones? Which reaction becomes an expectation, almost a posture: a heart warmed or a gut wrenched?
Everything that people are doing every moment every day on every inch of the planet is the sum total of human nature and all of it is a daily revelation. The cumulative total of it will always be gut-wrenching and heart-warming. It depends only on where we are looking, what we are reading, or what we are doing in any given place at any given moment.