The drama of sin is playing in our neighborhood. An older couple's son got in trouble with the law. They severed their connections with the community, from shame and embarrassment. We didn't change; they did. We're still waiting for them to come back (we're still inviting them!) and be part of our world. We smile and wave, and even converse in friendly neighborly tones as we set our trash at the curb, but they don't visit like they used to.
Sustainability requires deeply integrated, multiply interconnected relationships. More connections makes a bigger net, and a bigger net makes more security and harmony. When we are not "right" with the world, we separate ourselves. Sin is an action, a choosing, which breaks connections.
I recently wrote an abusive letter to the editor. I wrote about the callousness of Mayor Johnson steamrolling over the will of the people regarding the Alameda Cineplex redevelopment. It's a misbegotten project. But my ire spilled over into something that looked like a personal attack. A good friend who is in a position to know more about Bev Johnson, the person, wrote me and tasked me to recall who I am as a person... and then I felt shame for attacking.
My response to my shame has first been to try to harden my heart. But that isn't working.
So my next response is to try to explain myself (as in this post). That isn't working. My apologetic letter to the editor didn't get published, either.
Now, just like my neighbors, I am separating myself: I don't want to go to my meetings, I don't want to go to City Hall, I don't want to poke my head out and learn what sort of repercussions my angry letter has earned me.
Have I hurt anyone? I'm concerned that I have. I might have severed some relationships. I can feel that I'm trying to retract into myself even more. I have to be brave and go out and in humility present myself to anyone who might have a bone to pick with me.
God, grant me your strength. God, keep my heart open. God, let me proceed in humility. I don't want to go to the dark place of separation. Please help me heal any wounds I've caused. Amen.