what the system cannot do

Paperwork. Bleh.

Yesterday my car was a freight train from 8:30 am – 7:30 pm, making a maze around Des Moines for appointments and meetings and visits. Today, my car Eddie has been parked in my driveway since 1 pm and I’m inside eating pistachios, watching the sun dance in my living room, and working on monthly reports. It feels way less productive, that’s for sure. But if I don’t finish the reports, all the speeding around is for nothing.

If a train never stops anywhere, what use is there to jump on board?

Apparently, I need a little blog therapy to stay stationary today. I need to remember that the words on paper are important to the little ones in my backseat. Sometimes the words on paper are what fight for them when everyone else has laid down their swords. So, I’ll write the words and finish my reports and respond to the emails and follow up on phone calls.

These frequent stops on the speeding train do make me wonder about the social transit grid – the systems and structures that make up child welfare. Where are we going to and coming from? And do those destinations make sense or are we all just rushing to get on board? The questions are too big for Tuesday late afternoon, so I won’t attempt an answer.

What I will say is working in the system has shed light on what the system cannot do. It cannot change people or convince people or heal people or cure people. It cannot offer forgiveness or grace (second chances are not the same).

Every time my speeding train stops and I get good and stationary, I am aware of what the system cannot do. Right about that time (now) I fix my eyes on the unseen miracles authored by the One who keeps His promises.

This grid of systems and structures is visible – in the paperwork and the gas mileage and the court costs – and it is limited. Meanwhile, I’m hanging my hope on something unseen. This is the grace-energized faith that makes my speeding and stationary days about more than the grid.

As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV)

One thought on “what the system cannot do

  1. “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction.”
    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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