I’ve thought frequently over the past year about the story of Jonah. And not the trite story for cute coloring books that children hear before bed. The darker, more sinister story about human nature. I’ve thought about the questions the crew immediately thought to ask when the storm raged:

“Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us?”
“What kind of work do you do?”
“Where do you come from?”
“What is your country?”
“From what people are you?”

I’ve thought of how upset Jonah became when God showed mercy instead of justice. We’d be fooling ourselves to think that sometimes we don’t want to watch something burn. But not just anything… definitely not a plant. A plant won’t scream, “He was right!” A plant feels nothing when it hears through the flames a voice that says, “I told you so.”

Between a watery grave and Nineveh’s desert wind, the only moment of peace came when there was no one else to blame. Swallowed up. Locked away. Agency removed. Forced to be free.

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