When do I get to quit the world?

Leave the rest behind. fdecomite/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
I'm tired this month. Soul-achingly tired. Worn to a nub by the insanity of this world, and my country in particular. Exhausted by hate, ignorance, destruction of lives. Overwhelmed by our society's deep, persistent darkness.

"Lord, when do I get to quit the world?" I first asked it, incredulous, when we appeared on the brink of a Twitter-fueled nuclear standoff. I asked it again, anguished, when I watched the events in Charlottesville unfold. As the tenor of discourse dips toward hysterical extremes and the shades of gray sort themselves into clearer black and white, I keep asking my question with each day's news cycle, each fresh slap across the many faces of God.

I keep asking because deep down I'm hoping for a different answer than the one I already know. But I do not get to quit the world. I do not get to curl up in a fetal position with a bag of Goldfish and my Netflix account on endless cycle. The still, small voice -- so quiet but so firm -- has demanded I engage, to the point of handing me a to-do list. It reads as follows:

  1. Educate myself.
  2. Learn with others.
  3. Confront tragedy.
  4. Name injustice.
  5. Examine the dark corners.
  6. Stretch my belief.
  7. Gulp my faith.
  8. Speak truth out loud.
  9. Live "I love you."
  10. Begin. Today.

So I begin. Again.

Prayer #315: Determine the Sequel

I have kept this library book too long. How can I tell? The dog ears are close to amputation, the pages have unglued. I have read and reread the text expecting a different ending, yet it does not change. The plot always moves me toward the same conclusion. There is no other way it can unfold, not when the characters are so relatable and their decisions so poor.

My only option now is to admit the immutability of the printed word, return the book, pay my fines, and instead get to work on writing the sequel. Part Two does not exist. Yet. It will, though, and it will have the ending I want. The ending You intended. The ending that all who love inhabit.