Not only do I live here, I work at the same high school from which I graduated and I attend the same church in which I was dedicated in 1980. I feel a close connection to these places. I feel that I have an obligation to give back to the places who have made me the person I am.
On this blog, I have the opportunity to skew the facts to favor myself. I am not interested in that type of writing, but I'm not silly enough to believe it doesn't happen from time to time. But I think I often fail to share my heart when it comes to my church.
I fear that we've forgotten that one of the major tenets of Christianity is relationship--relationship with Christ and relationship with others. And that relationship isn't necessarily developed while we sit in a pew or eat potluck together.
When Favorite and I discovered that it would be highly unlikely that we would ever bring children into this world, I was devastated. I was lost in a relationship with a Savior I trusted, but didn't understand. I felt betrayed because I couldn't make sense of what was happening. I didn't know how to talk about it. I didn't even know if I wanted to talk about it. I sat in a pew every single Sunday and felt completely lost. I had little to no connection with many of the families there, and hated that I had to field the same question every Sunday: "When are YOU guys going to have kids?"
Thankfully, that just wasn't true for Women's Bible study. It took a few studies to come to that place, but when women started sharing, I felt less lost. I heard them testify and cry over struggles that were years old, and in the same breath, I heard them explain that trust was certainly a part of the equation. Week after week, I was humbled by their experiences. And even more humbled by their willingness to share those experiences--to expose themselves, really.
Without them, I feel like my disconnect would've been much deeper. They were my connection to a reality of relationship that isn't always pretty and rarely goes as planned. But they were also the tie that reminded me that comfort comes through presence.
Those same women held me when I lost my child. They lifted me up in prayer--probably more prayers than I could count. They wrote me letters when I couldn't finish the last two weeks of study. And even now, a year later, they still haven't forgotten me.
I love them because they get me. I love them because I can open up to them and know that I won't be soothed with platitudes. I love them because when I needed to see Christ, that's exactly what they became.
Many members of my church overlooked me. They stopped talking to me. They assumed my silence and lack of hello had to do with a belief that I was better.
I sat in a pew and I was completely invisible.
Then I sat in a chair, and I shared my heart. And I was surrounded with love.
I wonder if there is ever an inappropriate time for that.
"Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'" --Matthew 25:40, The Message