It’s funny because sometimes you relearn a lesson you thought you knew, and you’re sure you’ve been trying to teach it to everyone else only to learn it was you that wasn’t getting it.
This season of life has been so bittersweet: losses and gains have swirled together in such a strange way it’s hard to see where one ends and the other begins. Sorrow and love.
We are settled in our precious house we love so much. Settled. A word I’ve been stretching toward for such a long time. It’s wrapped all around me, the peace I hoped homeownership would bring, delivered. I have a house. No landlords. The decisions and responsibilities are mine. This is what I wanted and I have it, along with no regrets.
In the mix, though, is the second loss, facing a barrier I didn’t put in my path and can’t figure out how to get through. I pray and I pray and I pray and no answer comes through this loss so far. And I miss my friend deeply and now all her tinies. It’s not what I ever would have expected.
Speaking of expectations, we Ritters have also changed churches. Another loss and what a weird season this has been, you guys. A conversation with a ‘friend’ I thought was a given, forever friend, turned into a jumbled mess of accusations and character assassination and abandonment I still haven’t figured out or seen all the threads of yet. It’s something I’ve only experienced once before in my life, this death of relationship, and if you know me, you know how that turned out. Doors do close, you know. Some people refuse to work things out because it requires a humbleness of heart on both sides. They also refuse to even talk, despite how many times you ask or pursue them. What a weird experience.
Following the convo-turned-conflict (conflict?-unbeknownst to me), several quotes were shared that didn’t ring true and so we sought out answers about What Our Church Believed about the Gospel, eternal security, and grace…for the things being quoted didn’t match what things had been said before, or what we thought we knew about this place we had poured our lives into for three years. And nothing was answered…vague responses to pointed questions aren’t answers. We asked to meet, no one responded. Gossip charged up and nothing was answered. We waited and we waited. We read letters and grew further confused. It felt like a dismissal, not “family”….. what a great disappointment after three years.
And then we visited an old church for the first time in many years, simply hungry for communion with the saints and the comfort of this thing we call “church” in our culture. We knew we could trust the words that would be spoken no matter how long we had been away. And guess what happened? All those questions that hadn’t been answered at “our” church, all the blurry lines and confusions about what was being said were answered in that message spoken. The gospel was displayed and clear and true grace spoken AS A PART OF THIS REGULAR SUNDAY. And we remembered how it could be less of this daily angst-riden race of fear and worry and judgment and more like a resting in what’s already been done and what is true. We picked up some books and found my conversation that turned into a conflict displayed on the page, exactly as I had remembered it from my training years ago as a camp counselor, as I remembered it taught to me when I believed and chose to keep believing, exactly as it has always been true. And I realized I don’t need others to approve “my” theology, as it is written there in black and white, like it always has been. This isn’t mine, it’s Christ’s. And I find I’ve relearned trusting that Spirit voice inside me when it tells me something isn’t right, that being transparent is always better than being fake, and what I am isn’t who others say I am, but who Jesus says I am. Loss and gain swirl together but truth remains.