During my first year in college, I was assigned to share my dorm suite with three other women. I hit it off with two of them fairly quickly. We did orientation activities together, participated in new student events, explored our college town, and shared about our homes and families.
But about a month in, something shifted. Suddenly, I was being kept out of conversations and not included. What had happened?
Well, during a trip to the beach, I had accidentally dropped one of the girl’s digital camera in the sand. I quickly picked it up, dusted it off, and we continued to have a good time. What I did not know was that some sand got into the lens area and jammed the mechanism.
Later I got a message over Facebook (from the next room): You broke her camera and it’s going to cost a lot of money to repair it. She didn’t think you’d admit to breaking it and she thinks you’re really fake.
How could they possibly think that I would not own up to my error? Of course I would make every effort to repair her camera. That is who I am! And not a fake, not at all.
After my initial shock and hurt subsided, I replied, I will have her camera fixed. I apologize for my error. (Eventually, I did made wonderful friends with whom I still have relationships years later.)
I related to Jesus in today's Gospel so much that day. People were ready to throw literal rocks at Him and He walked away. (See John 8:59.)
In the moment, I think it’s hard for us to walk away after stones are hoisted. We want to defend ourselves; we want to call others out on their ignorance; we want to hurl stones ourselves. But sometimes, we need to walk away, just as Jesus did. And maybe the humility and suffering of the lesson is God's gift to us in that moment. Even when it doesn't feel like it.
This sermon by Saint John Chrysostom on this Gospel provides striking insight.
Dr. Samantha Aguinaldo-Wetterholm is a wife to Paul, mom to three little ones, and practices dentistry at a public health community center for low income families in the Bay Area, California. She (unashamedly) thinks ice cream is its own food group, loves anything Harry Potter, does not leave the house without wearing sparkly earrings, and is an enthusiastic proponent of the Oxford comma. Find out more about her here.