A thunderous clap shook the congregation that sat this morning in the historic 2nd Unitarian Church of Chicago. It has been close to a month since I sat in the sanctuary of 2U, but the feeling of familiarity and community makes showing up there on any given Sunday morning a refreshing experience. I went with my girlfriend Hattie and good friend Rebecca to the service on a day that felt eerie, as if out of a science fiction film. A thick layer of fog enveloped the city, especially the tops of the high-rises along Lake Shore Drive. Then the rain came and as my grandmother used to tell me, “the angels were bowling again.”
This weather fit well into the themes presented in the service this morning. The sermon was titled, “The Blessings of Adversity.” The pulpit was filled by a guest speaker, a Loyola seminarian named Seth Fisher. A scruffy, skinny man in his mid-thirties, Seth shared stories about struggle and triumph in the midst of adversity, hopelessness, and darkness. He shared a powerful story of a time where he considered suicide as a path in life. He also retold the story of Aron Ralston, who was recently portrayed in the movie 127 Hours, starring James Franco. These powerful stories gave me an opportunity to reflect on the adversities I face in my life .