Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Redemption

Even as I type this, the comments are still rolling in on this post from Monday. And that's fine; keep 'em coming. It's nice to hear you all rally around me. (Yep, I'll admit to being shallow enough to love y'all telling me you'd beat people up for me.)

I have read that post over multiple times, and I have to say, I'm happy with the wording. I meant everything I said, and I feel that I said it well. I also thought that I'd keep the post vague and anonymous enough....but I guess I didn't realize anyone who actually attends my church reads my blog.

But some do. Who knew?

And in light of that fact, I felt the need to share excerpts from an email I received on Monday.

But before I do, let me explain why I am going to share it.

I'm a Christian. I know that means different things to different people. To me, being a Christian means that I believe that I am a sinner, and the only way for me to live in that reality is to put my faith and trust in Christ. I believe He is the Son of God, and that He came to earth, lived a sinless life, died a cruel death on a cross to pay the eternal penalty for my sin, and rose from the grave three days later. I believe He will return to earth one day to reign, and that because I have placed my trust completely in Him, that once I die, I will spend eternity in heaven. In the meantime, I try daily to live for Him in a way that pleases Him. I fail, a lot. But He is gracious and forgiving, and I get to try again the next day to point people toward Him.

I'm not overly religion-minded or God-focused or however you'd like to say it on this blog. I feel that this is a place for me to just be the "writer" me, hence the blog address. I'm not hiding my Christianity; it's intrinsic to my writing and what I choose to share with you and how I decide to say it.

But with Monday's post about our Sunday experience, I was putting pretty much front and center the only picture I've ever given to my blog readers of my church, either in Ohio or in Tennessee. Others who read this blog who share my faith or attend a similar church may have been able to excuse away the "unChristianlike behavior" I posted about. Sadly, Christians are also human. We screw up. We screw up in church. Isn't it a good thing we have a forgiving God?

But I'm sure I have other readers who aren't "church people," and who may have been absolutely appalled and completely turned off to the whole "church thing" when they read about my experience on Sunday.

And I realized that I didn't want the ignorance and insensitivity of one person be the only thing I ever say about "Christians" on my blog.

Which is why I'm going to share with you parts of an email I received Monday. The author attends my church. She also, as it turns out, reads my blog. And after she read Monday's post, this is what she had to say:

I sit here, reading your blog, in humility.
I am appalled at the lack of compassion and love. I am disgraced at my ignorance. I am deeply sorry that you felt that way at what I think should be a refuge and safe place. I am sorry that people are so insensitive. I am sorry that those insensitive people have voices and no orthodox about themselves.
I am extremely sorry for my not saying anything to you. I saw you from afar in service. But I did not seek you out as I should have and I deeply apologize. I saw Jim picking up your so adorable Seth from nursery and yet still did not seek you out or even speak to him of the happenstance.
I do not like to hear excuses or make them for myself but I would like to think of it as insight. I have to let you know why I subconsciously did not seek you out. I was every bit of scared. I was terrified that you might need some sort of words from me. I have no words for you. I have never been through your circumstances. I would have nothing of any substance to tell you. I could not offer you any words of wisdom or any scripture to ease your pain. I could do nothing, therefore; I left you be.
I realize now after reading your words that you do not need me to tell you anything. But you could have used my arms around you. I am sorry for not being there for you. I am sorry! Please know that even though I did not offer a hand of comfort to you on Sunday my prayers have been for you and your family. I cannot do anything for you but I know God can and is and will continue. I know He is wrapping his arms around you. You are so amazingly strong! If you need anything please call me or email me. I love you guys and will continue to pray for you. And please accept my apology.

Her words were a healing balm. I let her know immediately that her (in my opinion unnecessary) apology was accepted, and that I really, truly get it when people say nothing. I even get it when they say the wrong thing.

But I thought her words were so sincere, so perfectly chosen, and so truly representative of the kind of love that we receive from our church family on a weekly basis. That is what Christian love looks like. That is what I want you, reader, to know about my church family.

None of us are perfect. I'm guessing you are flawed, too. But there is such sweetness in walking through life's joys and trials together. I'll gladly endure "Sunday's" people when they're a package deal with "Monday's" people.

12 comments:

Sara said...

Beautiful post as always, Mon. I'm glad at least one person from your church has stood up in this way. *hugs* I hope people will stop being scared & just be there for you. I hope a lot of things. Anyways...we love you! *hugs*

mandie lane said...

wow. I'm so glad you had that bit of love in your inbox. What a brave lady to come forward.

Had I been at church, I would have been hugging you so tight you'd have said "geez, Mandie, ENOUGH ALREADY."

Thoughts and prayers with you, as usual.

Valerie said...

What a beautiful email, and what a beautiful person to take the time to send it.

Sending lots of prayers to you, Jim, and Seth.

Jenn said...

What a lovely letter she wrote you. Thanks for sharing. I'm sure for every person who says something wrong, there will be several more who will know just what to say at the right time!

rosebud78 said...

What a lovely e-mail. What a sweet and wonderful lady for writing it. :)

Marlo said...

I agree- those "Monday people" are the best!

DAD said...

You know, that in the midst of the whirlwind that is life, you have a wonderful balance in your spirit! I just appreciate how quickly you tie loose ends together....I just wish sometimes you didn't feel like the knot!..... you make me so proud sweetheart! this was a lovely post - love and hugs!

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

So beautiful...so well said...both your words and hers. I'm so glad you shared this part of your church family with your readers. Thank you...

and still here praying.

Kristin (kekis) said...

That lovely woman just demonstrated what a Christian really is . . . someone who loves you, admits to wrong, confesses ignorance, reaches out, knows self imperfection, tries to be what Christ would want, and loves.

Kendra said...

Very, very well put.

Michele said...

I agree; what a great lady to come forward and extend some love and Christianity. I know things are tough. You don't necessarily want to talk about it, but you also don't want people to pretend it did not happen. The ackowledgement is a reminder of the pain but also the life that there was. It's so bittersweet and I hope more people from church will open their hearts to you so you don't feel so alone. I give you credit for still going to church; I've been there only 3 times since I lost Grace; always makes me want to cry.

Michelle said...

Wow, what a great email to receive. Truly God works in mysterious ways! I have been guilty of fear, the fear of not having the right words to say to someone who I thought needed them.