Tuesday, February 23, 2010

God draws straight with crooked lines

July 2, 2009

This week I went to Theology on Tap with Caroline. It's a popular ministry where folks get together for dinner and a beer and listen to great speakers about their faith. This week there was a nun from the Sisters of Life order. Sister Mary was a dynamic speaker from a small order of nuns in New York. Anyway, while all of her talk was inspiring, I remembered a line I've heard once before- "God draws straight with crooked lines." I don't know if one sentence has ever given me more hope.

Because you see, I am a crooked line. One big, emotional, impatient, selfish crooked line. I am unfocused and unorganized. I am self-righteous and stubborn. I am as crooked a line as they come. And yet, I believe that because God lives within me, this crooked line will become something good, something straight someday.

In this time in my life where I'm grasping at understanding grace and forgiveness, I see crooked lines all around me that God used to make into something wonderful. I think first of Mother Teresa and how her heart so often felt darkness. She sinned and sinned some more. She felt pain and agony. Her line was no more straight than ours. And LOOK at what God did with that crooked line! I get the pure priviledge of seeing just an iota of the work God did through her in Atlanta. Our God worked miracles with Mother's crooked line.

I think of my biological grandmother, my mom's mom. This lady lived in the throws of addiction and could not raise my mother. Her decisions contributed to my mother living in foster care and to her suffering as a child. But mom remembers something so special. She says that her mother worked with my (foster) grandparents to visit my mom every week. She didn't miss a visit. She didn't show up late. Despite her vast inadequacies as a mother, she did that one thing for her. And my mom's unmatched mothering abilities are due in part to her mother, to the crooked line that God made straight.

I think of one of my patients, Shawn. When I met Shawn, she had just crossed over into full blown AIDS and was prostituting out of a tent in Cobb County. She had not seen her children in years. I placed her at the Gift of Grace, and through the work, prayers, and love at that home, Shawn is drug-free and rebuilding a relationship with her children. Her line is crooked, her path is straight.

I think of people every day who suffer in the midst of hunger, torture, racism, depression, poverty, abuse. I think of the aborted, not given a chance to live and the men and women on death row, their lives also to be taken by man. All of this is against God, all of it in contrary to what we believe about God.

Sister Mary is a Sister of Life, her order taking a 4th vow (chastity, obedience, poverty) to protect and enhance LIFE! Because no matter how crooked the line, no matter how dismal the life, God can draw straight with it. He can make something beautiful out of the most horrible situations. Maybe this is what being "pro-life" is all about...


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