I cry-read sometimes. This part of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close made me do just that:
“What if the water that came out of the shower was treated with a chemical that responded to a combination of things, like your heartbeat, and your body temperature, and your brain waves, so that your skin changed color according to your mood? If you were extremely excited your skin would turn green, and if you were angry you’d turn red, obviously, and if you felt like shiitake you’d turn brown, and if you were blue you’d turn blue.
Everyone could know what everyone else felt, and we could be more careful with each other, because you’d never want to tell a person whose skin was purple that you’re angry at her for being late, just like you would want to pat a pink person on the back and tell him, “Congratulations!”
Another reason it would be a good invention is that there are so many times when you know you’re feeling a lot of something, but you don’t know what the something is. Am I frustrated? Am I actually just panicky? And that confusion changes your mood, it becomes your mood, and you become a confused, gray person. But with the special water, you could look at your orange hands and think, I’m happy! That whole time I was actually happy! What a relief!”
This book is about a lot of things (and I highly recommend reading it so you can find out about all of those things), but what’s beautiful is that one of the narrators, Oskar Schell, is a young boy and an atheist. And his heart hurts because his father was killed on 9/11. He invents things in his head to quell his anxiety, that ever creeping fear that all we have is darkness, and we’ll fade away into nothing, just like the people we love.
As believers, we know differently. But as believers, we could really use an invention like this one. I think this is why it’s so important to treat each other with kid gloves. In fact, being a true believer means you display fruits of the spirit.
Paul tells us the fruit of the spirit are:
“…love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” He goes on to say “against such things there is no law.”Galatians 5:22-24
Because who would outlaw a kind word or gentle hand?
These things are what it means to be Jesus to one another.
I’m really going through a hardcore sanctification process right now. I’m not too shabby at head knowledge. I’ve always done well intellectually, to the point that I get frustrated sometimes because this is my reality, and I make the horrible assumption that this is everyone’s reality too.
But what a terrible reality when you think about it. Because if all I have is a vast number of words in my head, what on earth is happening in my heart? Can I not see it? The different shades of invisible colors flashing on everyone’s skin? Can I not forget for a moment where I end and someone else begins? Because if all I have is this dying brain of mine, I better call it quits.
Nobody is resurrected because they knew everything about Jesus or the Bible. You’re resurrected when you’ve confessed your sins, repented, and submitted to Christ.
You’re resurrected when you’ve humbled your heart.
So maybe today we forget the frowns and hard exteriors of the world and think of all the colors we could be missing.