X MARKS THE SPOT
An X appears on a map to tell you where you want to go. Mayhaps an olde pirate map indicates a buried treasureâ€™s location with an â€œX.â€ Off you sail, in search of gold at the end of a journey.
Or an X appears on a map to let you know where you are. You arrive at a sprawling shopping mall and search a map display to find your goal . . . say the jewelry store with a great sale on the perfect gift for your spouse. X declares your location and gives you a sense of how to get to the south end of the second level near the food court. Off you go, knowing where you started your first steps.
Donâ€™t we wish that an X would clearly mark a spot of where we are in our faith? Or, better still, where God may desire us to head for? If only I could reach X, things would be better. When Elisabeth KÃ¼bler-Rossâ€™ five stages of grief became popular in the 1970s, I recall teaching classes based on her groundbreaking work. Many easily understood and appreciated her research about denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But I frequently cautioned people that there was no logical, predictable passage from one â€œstageâ€ to another. Persons wanted to know exactly where they were going or where they had come from. As valid as KÃ¼bler-Rossâ€™ stages are 40+ years after the publication of DEATH AND DYING, none of them ever becomes an X Marks The Spot.
Putting an X on a map is easy. But an X doesnâ€™t work well in the topography of the soul.