Hurting sucks. Chomping down on a cavity bites. Getting dumped by a significant other is the pits. Life has seemingly endless number of ways to cause us acute, long-standing suffering.
It’s an unfortunate lesson we learn early on, and each of us spend the rest of our lives trying to protect ourselves from it. Some pain, like the tooth ache, we can hedge our bets against. We brush our teeth, floss daily, and buy over-promising and under-delivering tooth paste. Others however, such as a betrayal from a loved one, is not so easily avoided, because we rarely see it coming. So after what feels like the 652nd time we’re stabbed in the back, we search for new ways to protect ourselves.
We start building walls to keep people from getting close enough to hurt us. We surround ourselves with trenches and turrets, so those we perceive as threats have to cross a battlefield to harm us.
The sad part is our attempt to keep ourselves safe serves less as a sanctuary and more as a personal prison. We end up isolated from community, isolated from kindness, isolated from God. Recently, I had the fortune of reading a spiritual allegory called The Seed: A True Myth by Erik Guzman. Without spoiling too much of the plot, it tells the story of how far we as a people can go in effort to protect ourselves, and how often those very efforts leave us more vulnerable to pain.
At the end of the day, our own best thinking often leads us into our darkest places. We can’t dig ourselves out of the hole we end up in. We can’t escape the prisons of our own minds. We need someone to pull us out. We need love to find a way to get to us. We need a hero.
“He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…” oh, that’s what he meant
P.S. Have you checked out the new cover for Tyrants and Traitors? It comes out in less than t-minus two months, October 10th!