It’s been called the crab bucket syndrome because you try to get out and move on but the other crabs just keep pulling you back in. While I’ve recognized this gravitational pull in my own midwestern small-town rural experience, there’s just as much if not greater challenge for inner city low-income folks for whom material resources seem impossible to come by.
In both of these settings what is typically absent is a bigger vision for something beyond... something greater… further than the sufficiency, safety, and tradition of the bucket.
I love how Richard Rohr simply describes this gravitational pull in Falling Upward,
“What passes for morality or spirituality in the vast majority of people’s lives is the way everybody they grew up with thinks.”
It takes a huge push out into the liminal space of self-doubt and separation for us to find our own soul and calling apart from the gravity of what mom and dad wanted for us. (I've often wondered why the Apostle Paul never focused on his family the way James Dobson did.)
And isn’t this pattern the clear theme of some of our favorite and timeless stories throughout history? Homer’s Odyssey, Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings, Good Will Hunting, are all about the pain of leaving, giving up something, losing what you thought was so important. We love watching or reading about a character’s disorientation or suffering because it connects somewhere deep in our own soul. And we often recognize that there must be some sort of happy ending or resolution to the tension that the characters are expriencing. But when it comes to accepting my own invitations to risk it all in order to journey forward, well, that's a different story.
Jesus’ famous last words ARE ASKING US TO LEAVE. “Go into the world.” And prior to that there are several indications that you can’t take with you what you thought you needed. Your family (See Luke 14:26 or Matthew 12: 46-50) as well as the material stuff you’re so attached to (See Luke 10:4) likely will not do you much good on this next leg of the journey.
And, yes, this is yet one more occassion in which my friends on the street whether mentally ill or enslaved to alcohol have often brought me further than the church to help me recognize and get beyond my own ego to see that the invitation is never ending. The rabbit hole awaits. But we have to risk leaving and losing in order to discover what lies ahead.
Quote : Rohr, Falling Upward p83.