Sunday, May 27, 2012

I didn't ask for this...or did I?

It's been a crazy week.  Really crazy.  I had some really good meetings with people and was able to share some stories of Kenya and catch up with dear friends.  I was able to encourage others through conversations as well as be encouraged.  It was great.  Then, a few things happened all at once that forced me to sit back and really question.

Without going into too much details, the end of this week wrecked me a bit.  I heard some updates about a dear friend that just plain hurt.  Someone that I love dearly had some some things that weren't in the character that I had come to know.  That's really all I'm going to say.  It was hard to hear some things, and I know there is much more that I probably do not know and honestly do not need to know.  The experience of it all left me questioning is there really hope?  Where is it?

Since I've been back in the US a few relationships have drastically changed (they started to change before I got home).  I may not have been 100% at fault, but I know that I was partially to blame.  I've been really making an effort to mend lately but feel as though I've been met with nothing but utter failure.  By the end of the week I was left again questioning.  Is there hope for it?  Should there even be?  It is simply time to be thankful for what once was and move on, accepting that several (not just one) relationships are far from what they once were and maybe that's not a bad thing?

Friday was a really hard day.  For several weeks I've been trying to meet up with one of the pastors at church to catch up.  We've seen each other for a bit of time at church but we both wanted a time to sit and talk over a coffee.  As I was sipping a coffee at Wegman's, he walked in and said that he had just gotten en emergency phone call and asked if I'd go with him to help out and pray over the situation.  Again, I'm not going to go into details, but it became a difficult day.  Nothing can even begin to prepare you for a day sitting in the ER waiting room with a mom who has been through a tragedy like this.  I began to share with her and offer what comfort I could.  The morning came and went as afternoon set in.  I thought that she was starting to grasp what was begin said.  Maybe in some way she was.  Then, as I was preparing o leave, she went right back to where she was hours ago.  The same things we had discussed and she was seeing answers to were back on the table with the two other pastors who came out.  I left questioning.  Did anything that came out of my mouth all day matter?

By Friday night I got home and asked the big question:  When did ask for any of this?  I meant it too.  When did I ask to become the one that people could come to.  When did I ask to be the one that has to offer encouragement to others?  When did I ask for conflicts in relationships.  Hard times.  Betrayals.  When did I ask for any of this?  I was convinced that I hadn't.  Truth is, I did ask for much of it.  Maybe not in those words, but I did.

After my first trip to Kenya I was hit with some hard truths about my own heart and where it was.  I made a choice when I got home to address issues in my life that need addressing.  I made a choice to allow my heart to be healed.  I made that choice because I knew that there was something more for me.  I wanted to be used in new ways.  I wanted to be made whole to walk others through the same.  So, when did I ask for this?  When I chose to walk a new path of true relationships with others.

My good friend Chris sent me a passage from 2 Chronicles last night that really nailed the point home for me.  In chapter 27 David lists people of importance in Israel.  It talks about those in the treasury, those who work fields, suppliers of wine, those in charge of the flocks, etc.  Then it lists something important.  Verse 32 lists the king's advisors and counselors.  But 33 calls out King David's close friend.  When Chris sent me this he also sent me back for some more of the story.  It's found in 2 Samuel.  The counselors and advisors betrayed David.  But the one listed as his friend - Hushai - remains loyal.  The parallel that Chris drew was that "being a true friend is a hairy deal.  It can be super awesome, it can be super emotional, it can be super terrible, it can be super inexplainable, it can be super overwhelming."  

When we chose to be a real friend, it can get hard.  Being a friend to King David wasn't easy.  But Hushai remained true and did as David asked him.  Being in relationship with someone isn't always going to be easy.  There will often be times where it's downright hard.  Conflicts arise.  Situations come up that test the fabric that holds friendships together.  Sometimes maintaining a relationship is a fight.  Sometimes it means speaking truth to someone in the ER who is afraid to hear it.  It means speaking the truth even though the truth sucks and is hard to hear.  And maybe it's not about it getting through.  Maybe it's more about stepping out in boldness and being real.  Maybe what people need isn't someone to tell them the "Christianese BS" that "everything will be totally okay after this" but the truth that people make choices.  Things may get worse before getting better.  It's not about things being okay right away.  Life is a journey; it's a process.  We're all on it.  Maybe being in a true honest, vulnerable relationship with someone is telling them this.  But not leaving it there - still offering hope.  Offering hope that even though it may get worse first, that we can still rejoice in the hope that we have.  After all, 1 Thessalonians tells us that we do not grieve as men with no hope.  Rather, we grieve with a hope.  We still grieve.  We still walk through the process.  We still journey.  

Maybe I'm totally off base here.  I don't know.  Long blog for a long week.

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