Two weeks ago I asked, What fills in the gap for our congregation's dreams for the future? I want to press the question to a more personal level: What fills in the gaps in your life? Things don’t connect all the way, plans don’t work out, little fractures become larger ones. Often external forces, caused by others or by accident, push our plans off track and create gaps we never expected. What matters is the ‘substance’ that we use to fill in the gaps. It is true for organizations and true for our personal lives.
Certainly no one predicted the events of last week. Those runners, exhausted from 26 miles of running, did not expect the explosions that maimed and killed. The onlooking families and fans did not expect two from their midst to deposit such devastating packages underfoot. Yet, at 2:50 PM all of our stories were suddenly different. The same could be said of the people of West, Texas in the moments before the deadly accident there. Things happen. We do not plan for them, but things happen nonetheless.
Here is a question for those of us watching from Columbus. What fills in the gaps that these events leave in us? How do we fill in the blanks? Many of us followed along on Friday evening to see how the pursuit of the younger Tsarnaev would turn out. But when that story is over and we are left with unanswered questions, what is our response? Some of us jump to conclusions: it must be their family origins, their faith, or lack thereof. Some even appear to be reduced to hate. Is this the best we can do?
When bad things happen what do you allow to occupy the new space created? When something or someone is taken from you, what do you allow to fill in the gap? When we don't know all of the answers - and we rarely ever do - what do we allow to take the place of the space in between? Do we extend grace? Are we forgiving? Do we assume the worst in others or consider another explanation? Jesus forgave a woman caught in sin, saw something in rag-tag fishermen worthy of a second chance, and even forgave those who tortured and killed him because he knew they did not know what they were really doing. No one expected Jesus' story to turn out the way it did. No one saw Easter coming like it did.
Gaps happen. May we continue to fill in the gaps that life causes with substances worthy of the high calling we have as children of God. Faith, hope, and love would be a good place to start. Grace and Peace, Scott