Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Split Personality

My daughter is walking. She fell over the other day - I asked her to point to what hurt - she pointed to her chest, the way she does when we ask "who's Eva?" She was telling me what hurt, "I hurt."

I know it gets a bit kitchy to keep doing posts based on my adorable daughter, but it's fertile ground and we do spend a lot of time together, so it is, I suppose, inevitable.

I love this response and I hope it doesn't change. At some point it will be important for her to provide additional detail about potentially broken bones or bloody gashes, but I hope her first reaction is always to say "I hurt."

The truth is, we're not parts. We can't be split. We're not really us unless we include all of us. There's no division between our body, our mind, our emotions, our soul. This is a false dichotomy (or quadrichotomy, if you prefer).

We talk about someone dying and going to heaven. It's not that simple, though, because their body is in the ground. We're not exactly sure what happens when we die because people stubbornly refuse to come back to life - scripture talks about being present with God, but we're not sure what that means.

We do know, however, that the Hebrews and most other ancient peoples, saw themselves as whole - no divisions. A spirit is not you, just part of you - without the body you're not you. It's why the concept of resurrection is so important to Jewish (and later Christian) faith. Only in resurrection are we fully restored to who we are - complete.

We live in a world where everything is divided. We divide our spiritual lives from our physical, our work life from our home life and our church life, our friends from our family from our co-workers. We divide money from morals and politics from ethics. We're divided. Which means we're not whole. We're not us. We're operating like ghosts or zombies or whatever sub-human analogy you want to hold onto.

We're not us without all of us. We like to think we can take the best parts of ourselves and say "this is the real me - the rest is just dragging me down." It leads to depression and hurt and broken relationships; it leads to us being less than complete.

We are not us unless we're all of us. When one part hurts, we're hurt. When part of us is broken, we're broken. When part of us fails to live up to our expectations, we fail to live up to expectations.

The thing is, it works in reverse as well - whatever part you consider good or pure or right or wonderful, that makes you good and pure and right and wonderful. God made each and every one of us good; God made everything together good. We are good. Yeah, the rough parts, the disappointing parts, the broken parts - they leave something to be dealt with, obstacles to overcome, speed bumps to navigate. Our problems are real, but they don't determine our value.

If my daughter skins her knee, her knee needs help, a band-aid, some lotion. But she's hurt - her emotions need comfort, her spirit needs confidence to overcome the fear of pain, of being hurt again. She needs healing, not a part of her.

We are not split personalities. We're not going to be separated from our problems someday. We can't pretend they're not real or not us or that they'll go away. We just have to embrace them and recognize that we are good despite our frailties. We must remember that we're meant for redemption, reconciliation, healing.

We are good and we are loved - all of us. No split personalities.

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