Tuesday, October 4, 2005

SAFE ENOUGH TO CRY

POIGNANT MOMENT. One of the most poignant moments of my early adulthood came during my participation in a community-building workshop facilitated by psychiatrist and author M. Scott Peck. The three-day event called upon all participants to do the heart and soul work of forming authentic community. Toward the end of the third day, Peck began to openly weep.

FREE TO CRY. “I know we are experiencing authentic community, now,” he said through his joyful tears. “I can only cry when I am sure it is safe, and it just occurred to me that this group has done the hard work and has yielded themselves and have become a community. And I am free to cry. No one is going to make fun of me or criticize.”

WORLD’S BIGGEST CRYBABY. Peck related that he was, indeed, a crybaby as a child. So much so that one year at a carnival his parents purchased and gave to him one of those newspapers that personalizes the front-page headline; it read: “Scotty Peck: World’s Biggest Crybaby!” After that, Peck did not cry for over twenty-five years. Not until he was in therapy at age 34 did Peck shed a tear. And he cries now only in the context of community.

THE KINGDOM COME. I saw in that moment an image of the Kingdom come. The Revelation of John envisions all tears of sorrow being wiped away and ended when God’s kingdom comes. But I see tears of joy and freedom and authenticity flowing as a sign of God’s kingdom breaking into our lives and relationships and communities even now. Let us do the hard work of developing spaces and encouraging contexts where community can occur, where people can be safe enough to cry—and to make critical, world-changing, peace-bearing decisions.

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