The Good Courage devotions for this Lent, particularly the ones written by Amy Panton remind us that life can be hard.
Not all faith communities have learned how to give support, love and acceptance to folks whose lives don’t quite fit within the “norms” of middle-class life.
I’m pretty sure that those “norms”- that we are all heterosexual, gainfully employed, in stable committed relationships with a long term partner, raising kids who will take up careers, then closely duplicate the lives of their parents, perhaps with a little more prosperity- the norms were always part of the big illusion.
The big illusion being that life is do-able, manageable, and “winnable” for almost all of us. Those who can’t seem to make it work, well, they are the exception. For the most of us, life is great, near perfect in fact!
This has too often made it even harder, for folks who struggle, to admit to themselves, and to others, that they needed help.
It just a few years ago that someone close to me shared her difficulties with anxiety and depression with a faith leader in their community, and was told she needed to pray more. Then they “laid hands on”, and tried to pray the problems away!
That’s not something we’d say (hopefully!) if a person had a broken arm. We would see that the person received appropriate medical care- perhaps even take them to the hospital.
Which is what Amy Panton did for her friend, when she needed help.