When I was about six, some neighbor boys and I were playing with a Frisbee until a gust of wind (and probably an errant throw) took the disc onto the roof of my home. Thankfully, my dad had a ladder with which to hoist me onto our relatively flat roof. Running across the crest and retrieving the disc was never the hard part, but the descent down to my father’s waiting arms was terrifying. I tried several times to lower myself to the edge of the rooftop, and each time chickened out before my dad could reach for me. I was scared he would drop me. I was scared to fall. I could see exactly how close to the edge I could go while still maintaining control of my own destiny.
As I crept down again slowly, for what was probably the fifth or sixth time, my dad outsmarted me. The kids in my neighborhood would say he did a good job of not “fronting his move,” because he pulled his arms back, close to his chest, luring me into thinking I could get closer without having to trust him. With a mighty swoop, my dad lunged upward from his T-Rex pose, and with the full length of his arms extended swept me into his grasp and safely returned me to the secure footing of the porch.
There is something reassuring about standing on your own feet. There was something comforting about inertia, something reassuring about maintaining the status quo. When my dad swung me off the roof, I had no control of anything. My feet couldn’t touch the ground, which I saw rushing up at me pretty quickly, and my wings weren’t working very well. I had absolutely no control over what happened next. Thankfully my dad was strong and coordinated enough to bring my six-year-old self back to earth safely. For the last 25 years now, my dad’s “T-Rex arms” have usually turn into a joke somehow, usually when I’m trying to pass my brother the mashed potatoes.
It’s scary when you don’t have control over your own destiny. I think it is kind of similar to following God into scary situations. I believe with my innermost heart that we who are with are called to go to places without. It was much simpler to live in the suburbs of Lombard and just drive into the ‘hood for church, or head straight to the office to work. I didn’t have to slide all the way to the edge of the roof. I could stay on my own feet. I didn’t have to hear the gunshots in the evening, and if violence was bad I could just stay home that day. Walking in the big open field with the dogs was a more relaxing than trying to dodge broken glass and pull half eaten Italian beefs out of their mouths.
I don’t think of God as a Trickster, and there was no deception in what we were getting ourselves into. People are getting shot at and killed almost every day in Lawndale. People get held up and car-jacked too, and you can get all of that information pretty easily. I don’t know if hanging on the cross would have worked well for Jesus if he had T-Rex arms. What choice do we have but to keep singing Kendrick Lamar and trust that if God’s got us, then we’re gonna be alright.
So in that spirit, I’m making a commitment here. I am going to write. And write consistently. I like to write about culture, and sports fandom, and the church, and good food, and how frustrating politics are (and probably some hot-takes about how all of those things mix). It will be a mixed bag sometimes, but it will always be a reflection of who I am. I’m committing to sliding to the edge, trusting that Jesus has longer arms than a T-Rex, and hoping that we all get to the other side in good shape. I’m not interested in my Klout score, and this isn’t to start an online cult. It is just an out-flowing of my wanderings and my wondering. Hope you enjoy!