Recently, I was talking to a friend who shared the intimate reality of a deep personal wound. My beloved friend fears that this wound will not allow for real, intimate connections. This story broke my heart. I truly want the best for my friend, and I hope that all of these connections come together.
But, my friend is not alone. As a motherless daughter, it seems that I share in this struggle. My struggle is not the same. But, I will always fear not feeling connected. I feel like something separates me in some way from everyone else. That's not true. I have wonderful, meaningful relationships with friends. But, there's something missing in those other relationships. Those intimate ones, I guess.
I feel like I'm eternally waiting for something -- some profoundly simple moment -- when everything will come together. I don't know what that will be. I can't imagine what that might be. And yet, it seems that I'm always waiting for it.
But, that's exactly what happens for Tsotsi (which I finally saw tonight). Tsotsi has spent his life running with the wrong crowd. His world is filled with violence and lack of connection. He's a gang leader until one day his crimes bring him to a child. It's the most simple thing in the world. He steals a car with a child in it (and I'm not trying to ruin the movie for you). And suddenly, everything changes. Connections begin to be made. Those broken parts from his childhood begin to heal. It's wonderfully, mysteriously beautiful. It's the kind of healing we all long for.
And it's this healing that reminds me of the Christmas story. Go figure. Aren't I just the preacher lady? But seriously, it's a baby. A beautiful, perfect creation of God who is dependent upon Tsotsi for care. The intense vulnerability might not seem like a fair parallel to the Christmas story. But, isn't that what is so mysterious about the narrative of a little child born of a woman filled with the image of God? And we -- if we allow ourselves to become part of that reality -- can be nothing but vulnerable. We can see the connection in things, and we can begin to heal in our own hearts because this child offers something that we are so afraid to see in ourselves, in each other and in our world. But, there it is. Right there. Isn't it just as the carol sings, "the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."?