I grew up in a three strikes home. It was clear that what an adult said held sway. They were not joking. They really meant it. For any indiscretion you would: 1. Be told what you were doing was not okay and why 2. A reminder of #1 with the potential consequences of your actions thrown in and 3. A follow through often resulting in the extroverts most dreaded punishment- “time-outs.” While I have plenty of friends who commented that being sent to their rooms to read or play alone felt like a luxury, for me it was complete torture. Minutes would tick by like hours or days.
Despite this consequence and the good parenting that created clear lines of appropriate and inappropriate behavior, I would find myself sulkily walking (okay stomping) up those brown shag steps more often than I care to admit.
As an adult I still need to be told things- and multiple times for them to sink in. This is not just true in the ways I relate to others-how does someone like me to respond when they are stressed or how can I show appreciation for someone else’s hard work in ways that meaningful- but this is true for information in general. The number of times I forget my passwords is so shameful that my husband Dan has started also keeping track so that I don’t dissolve into tears trying to log onto my online banking, Spotify, or, heaven forbid, Netflix account.
Today in our Gospel reading from Mark we hear Jesus tell the disciples again of his coming death, and like my parents I can hear Jesus almost say “No I really mean it.” No one wants to be told bad things are going to happen- that there are consequences for their actions (or in-actions) – that things may be hard for those we love. But that is reality, and Jesus doesn’t shy away from it. Jesus tries to prepare those he loves not once – or twice- but three times.
He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him
I wonder if people in our lives often try to tell us things- share their truths with us, especially the hard truths- but for whatever reason we, like the disciples, are not able to hear their words. Since the disciples did not truly believe Jesus’ words, I wonder if they were able to celebrate the time with him they had. I wonder if they were able to say whatever words they needed to at the end. I wonder what would have been different. May we learn from the disciples and listen with open hearts to the truths those around us share.