I was on a ladder, standing about six feet in the air, when the whole thing just folded up underneath of me.
It’s one of those ladders made of four segments which you can fold in different ways. I had it configured as a 12’ straight ladder, leaning against my house. Apparently I had not done a good job locking the middle joint. I learned that because my bucket of tools and I took a unexpected slow-motion trip back to the ground.
There’s a particular queasy feeling that seizes you when you thought you had something solid holding you up, and then it turns out you don’t.
That feeling that the foundation has fallen away is all around us right now. Promises were made. Work hard and you can be anything you wanted to be. Get into a good college and you’ll get a good job. Buy a house, pay your mortgage faithfully and you’ll be set for retirement. Be a good, honest citizen and you’ll always be treated fairly. Attend a good church, get involved, give a tithe, and the church (and God) will always be there for you.
All the promises have been broken.
The economy crashed. Good people lost their jobs and then their homes. Smart people are carrying years and years of college debt and can’t get good jobs. More and more stories of corruption, exclusion, and hatred fill our news feeds. Even the church hasn’t proven to be a safe haven when bully pastors, oppressive theology, exclusionary community and outright abuse shaped the experience of so many.
The institutions we have trusted for a sense of security have shown themselves untrustworthy. When the undergirding of your life falls away, where do you look for stability?