“Jagged edges”

Dear President Trump,

The sermon on Sunday was delivered by one of our associate ministers, a woman in her late 60s or early 70s who went to divinity school just a few years ago after her husband died. The title of her sermon was “Fully Human: Our Jagged Edges.” The premise of the message was that we all have jagged edges in so far as we are all imperfect and it is when we are honest with each other about those imperfections that we can truly meet one another and not feel so alone. The analogies of fingers interlacing and puzzle pieces interlocking were used to illustrate the idea and it seems to me that the analogy of marbles glancing off one another could have been used to illustrate what happens when we so hyper-manage our public personas that we have sanded down all the interesting edges or folded them down flat.

We sometimes have a “congregational conversation” after the sermon and there was one this past week. These are almost always challenging times for me as I usually have something pretty jaggy to say that I have to figure out how to present in a not too jaggy way. So anyway, I’m not exactly sure how I did it, but I managed to politely articulate how as much as I like feeling right at home meeting someone else’s complementary and validating jaggy edges with my jaggy edges, I think we have to be careful not to get too comfy cozy lest we take up residence in an echo chamber. What I didn’t think to say at the time that occurred to me later is that 1) the other danger of just hanging out with like-minded jags is that we risk honing ours into razor sharp foils, and 2) when my jags do not meet up well with your jags it can be so uncomfortable I’d just as soon avoid you or scream at you from a safe distance.

A few minutes later someone else told the story of her new next door neighbors putting a “Trump” sign in their front yard. She spoke of the assumptions she made about them and how on edge and on guard she felt until it came to pass that their dog got really sick. Then they became people who were worried about their beloved dog and she could relate to them and care about them; much better than screaming at them from a safe distance. I almost always learn a lot at church.

May we be safe to be our jaggy selves.
May we be happy to find even tiny places our jaggy selves can meet other jaggy selves.
May we keep an eye on how sharp we let our jags get.
May we be open to opportunities to love even our neighbors we might mistake for enemies.

Tracy Simpson

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