My husband calls me over to the Weeping Cherry because a bright red cardinal hides within its branches. He flies away before I see him.
The gloom settles on the tree; it too chokes and freezes with each news release surrounding Penn State.
This isn’t going away. It shouldn’t.
I observe that little tree and notice the black bare center. Stripped down to the core, the tree offers nothing but its own naked shame.
You can’t wish the season away or ignore it. You can’t imagine your way out of it.
But you can hope.
I stand by the Weeping Cherry, and I think of all the ways shame turns glorious. We aren’t who we thought we were! The glorious revelation that we can’t ignore stands: sin is real. The ancient story stands!
We’ve fallen short of glory in a million ways: Those who tease Penn State students have failed in their mockery. Those who detach from the pain have failed in their denial. Those who move on have failed in their lack of compassion for victims who never, never move on. Those who insist they would have acted differently have failed in their self-righteousness.
Who hasn’t–when laid bare before a Holy God–failed?
The Weeping Cherry will stay in the stark reality of failure for all the time it takes. And, at just the right time, the sun will pierce through and send it blooming.
How glorious it will be!
Journal: How has Penn State’s scandal affected you?
It has reminded me we can all deny what we don't want to see or think about; it makes me tired of all the abuse of children and animals in the world just because they don't have a capacity to say “no.” It makes me tired of adults who have suffered trauma perpetrating on a new generation and I am so VERY tired of institutions allowing abuse to cont. despite being made aware. Fifteen years!!! The really sad thing is I don't know I would have been able to do better, at least according to the stats. We think we will intervene but remember Kitty Genovese? No one responded to her screams – and she died….I hope none of the survivors (not victims; survivors) don't succumb to shame – it wasn't their fault. It is OURS – our duty to LOVE and do no harm.
I'm tired too, Roberta! And it IS our duty to love and do no harm. Wonderful words above in this sad time.
This was beautifully written Heather. My heart weeps for Penn State. We are from Ohio originally and went to Ohio State. We were deeply saddened when Coach Tressel left there. Now we are saddened by what has happened at Penn State one of our rivals. I have always loved Joe Paterno. We thought the world of him and what he had done at the college. This has all been very hard for us too being from the Midwest. We are praying for all who are touched and hurt by this story. However, I know that God can bring good out of things that seem so dark. Lessons in life never come easy, but in the end, we all grow as we look to Him. Blessings to you my friend!
Beautiful, profound insights, Heather. I think the Penn State scandal has affected me most intimately because I know and love you. With every new piece of information released by the media, my thoughts immediately turn to you and your family and students…and my heart aches for all of you. I remain grateful that you – with your love and wisdom – are there for your students.
You are so encouraging, Patricia! Thank you! Thank you!
That means so much coming from Ohio State folks! 😉
I remember well the fatigue that set in here in the midst of the Duke Lacrosse scandal. Reporters trying to flag down students for a comment. People with their heads down, hurrying along the sidewalk to avoid their demands. It's exhausting. And it doesn't go away. And you are so right that it shouldn't. But what a sweet reminder that life goes on and God redeems. A cardinal. And a blooming cherry tree. Ahhhh.
Have a wonderful break!
a profoundly sad subject, perfectly written. thank you .
A very interesting perspective for sure as a Penn State professor. As an alum, I had an interesting internal wrestling match related to this whole situation. My top post this month was related to some of my thoughts on the whole Penn State thing. I titled my post – Paterno and Grace: Is There Any Chance They Go Together? The response has been interesting. Here's the link: http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/paterno-and-grace-is-there-any-chance-they-go-together/