I want to touch it. Fire, sharp steel, fast current, unmarked trail. The more I hear, “don’t do that” the more I want to cross the boundary between comfort and risk.
Coming from a background where routine was sacred, doing anything outside of the unquestionable tradition was guaranteed death of acceptance. It was easy as long as you followed the rules and routine. No doubts, no inquiry. Go to Mass, genuflect, repeat the correct words, and follow the leaders explicitly. I quietly moved as a child while internally hearing stories, messages and meanings so profound I was hesitant to talk with anyone about my understanding. I constantly stumbled over the story of Jesus and the cleansing of the Temple. What stopped me each time I heard the story was that Jesus got angry. How did unconditional love relate to anger?
There was nothing in the rules, routine, or tradition that allowed anger. There were documents rationalizing just war, but not anger. Teachings about social justice did not touch on anger. Decisions that result in exclusion of women, same sex couples, divorce, were taught, while anger was silenced. Only unquestionable submission was permitted.
I feel Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane until he was totally exhausted, Gandhi walking the salt march, Martin Luther King, Jr, writing the letter from Birmingham jail. I also feel the desire to cross the boundary between comfort and risk. Fire, sharp steel, fast current, unmarked trail. I want to know what it’s like to move beyond my limits, to feel fully. To know that love is more than a warm fuzzy experience, it’s the ability to be angry when fear becomes institutionalized.