Archive for April, 2010

Yesterday morning, about 4:15 am I woke up, a little uncomfortable, looked at the clock, rolled over and went back to sleep. Turns out that was exactly the time that grandpa died. It’s sad but a relief. When you can no longer communicate and enjoy the presence of people in conversation, plus you’re 88 years old and have had a wonderful life, it’s time. He will be missed.

Sadly, perhaps regrettably, his memorial service will not be in his church of 50 years.  He was angry with them because they fired the associate minister he really liked and thought was doing a good job. He stopped attending the church as soon as he found out. Probably no one noticed the real reason he stopped going. He had enough health left that he cold have still been there for a few more months.

No one should die angry with their church, just as no one should die angry with family or friends. So who is responsible for reconciliation and forgiveness? What is it worth? We are each responsible for our own feelings and how we respond to others, I know. But if we know we have done something that has caused someone else pain and hurt, are we to just chalk it up to their own responsibility for their feelings?  I don’t think we can entirely. Why else then would we have a prayer asking God for the forgiveness of sins of commission and omission? Are not the things we do that cause others pain sometimes sin? And if our actions are necessary and called for in spite of how others feel, ought not we do something to help them understand?

It is true that we can never fully understand everything and perhaps some details are not for everyone (See the Alban book on Healthy Disclosure for a more lengthy discussion of boundaries in information sharing). However, when we know someone is hurting and we know why, I think we should in the very least make an effort at reconciliation. We cannot turn back the clock, undo our actions or change the outcome but we can seek to be reconciled with each other and to make some amends. When systems deny their members an opportunity to thoughtfully speak out on issues, to have questions answered and decisions explained, it does not protect the health of the system as we imagine it will. Rather it adds to the dis-ease and illness of the system. When we are not allowed to have our good-byes and thank-yous or even opportunities to say “I’m hurt”, we ask the system to bury the load. But those buried pains come back up in the form of lost trust, apathy with the system and varying degrees of breakdown.

Our society seems to have lost the value of reconciliation because we have been seduced into believing that everything is about the individual. That individual rights trump  corporate rights and community. Society has told us to take all we want, don’t worry about the other guys they just need to fend for themselves. But I don’t remember hearing Jesus telling the Disciples to be careless and reckless. Doesn’t the gospel call us to community as we “love our neighbors as ourselves”? Or doesn’t that apply here? Grandpa wold be very sad if we disregarded the gospel.


Read Full Post »

It’s been a while for many things. It hasn’t worked out for me to go visit churches much. I took my kids to see my parents for 10 days which meant we got to go to my home church for Easter. That wasn’t very good. I was stressed, they weren’t behaving well and we were sitting too close to the front. I ended up taking the kids out of church and leaving early. My Mom was so upset, she wanted me to talk to all of the old folks at church. I wasn’t up for it. It was a tense week.

I came back home for a few days and then headed to LR to see my neurosurgeon. My hearing and vision tests went so well that I was really hoping he’d say when we could do surgery, but instead he has referred back to MD Anderson for IMRT (radiation therapy). And I had to do all these appointments with my father-in-law, who is great, but wasn’t the person I most wanted to be with me for this news.

And all the time I’m dealing with this, my adopted grandfather and #1 fan is dying. There is less and less for me here in our small town. I want to move so bad. I want to be in a bigger town/city where I have a group of friends and a church. I’m bored. I’m lonely and I want to get on with my life.

Lillian Daniel says in This Odd And Wondrous Calling, that she and her husband believe that God would not call them to be in a place where they could not both use their gifts. She is a pastor, her husband, a labor organizer. Can that really be true? When we first came to our small town my Dad said he thought we’d be here no more than 5 years before moving somewhere else. One of my regional ministers said the same thing. In the last few months, I’ve had other people tell me they thought that too.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a community where we have friends again? Where there are options for me, my husband and my kids? I swore I didn’t want to have to move in the midst of health issues, but, God, I’ll do it! God will make a way.

Read Full Post »