Part of my "official training" as a spiritual director had my path cross the path of Rev. Dr. Frederick Schmidt. Dr. Fred has done and continues to do so much for the Kingdom of God. On top of everything else, he is an Episcopal Priest. Dr Fred lost his brother in January to a brain tumor. His brother's name is Dave.
Dave asked the hard questions about spirituality and the church. While Dr. Fred was one of my professors, he talked about writing a book called The Dave Test. It is now out and his blog is taking some time, in the next 10 weeks, to ask some question to see if it passes The Dave Test. So if I feel like it, I'm going to ask us to think about those questions too.
Taking the Dave Test during the Holidays
Question One: "Can I say life sucks?"
Illness, job loss, divorce, anniversary of the death of a loved one, these are a small showing for things that can and do happen around the holidays. Suffering doesn't take a holiday. These experiences are, by nature, isolating. They cut us off from what and who we have known. I mean think about it, how many people are going through a divorce in your church? Do you know? They usually stop going to church.
During the holiday's we assume that everyone should be sweep along in the holly jolliness of it all. How many times have you heard someone say "Oh, get over it, it's Christmas!" "Can't you just get in the spirit of the season?" Hang on a minute…let me think about it…."Can I just say life sucks?"
Sometimes I think we forget Jesus was born in the shadow of Herod's raging paranoia! Children, baby boys, were being killed by huge numbers. But God...
Holiday celebrations that pass the Dave test are honest about those realities and people who can say, “life sucks” they are among the best to celebrate with on those holidays. Why? Well, why not? When we acknowledge that life can be hard, we open ourselves up to possibilities of seeing hope. Hope in the people who have suffered before you and lived through it. We might need to celebrate the holidays without ignoring life's realities. We might want to share our story with someone who needs to hear some hope.
So, can I say that life sucks? Well friends, right now it does. But God…..