I awoke today with a determination to focus on the single most significant action in the course of history. Today is Good Friday, the day on which Christians remember the betrayal and brutal death of Jesus the Messiah. For most of the day I have been full of fresh thankfulness and awareness of the somber events that transpired some 2000 plus years ago to make possible my deliverance from condemnation, slavery, and un-belonging.
This afternoon, in a split second an odd coincidence has averted my attention, my heart, my resolve and plunged me into the depth of depression, so I sit here pondering and writing hoping to purge the spell. I needed to pick up an item or two at Costco, and then remembered I needed to get dog food from the Pet store. I usually shop at the Petco nearest our house...but since I was at Costco in Tempe...PetSmart is right here, I remembered.
I went in and found the required brand, tossed the giant bag into my cart, rolled to the end of that aisle to turn around and head back to the register. I glanced up at the Veterinary portion of the store and suddenly flashed back to the day we brought our beloved Yellow Lab, Chester, to this very clinic to be 'put down'. The clinic looks exactly the same, even though the rest of the store has been remodeled. I've been in this PetSmart plenty of times since that day (12 years ago!), never once recalling 'that day'. Our whole family went together to be with Chester and say goodbye. We all cried and were miserable, Chester our beloved pet was the proverbial lamb brought to be softly slaughtered. He'd been battling bone cancer for months and had finally had reached the point we all realized that he was suffering much more than he was enjoying life. All the feelings from that day rushed at me as if it were yesterday. I was crying before I reached the car... recalling how Chester needed to stop at the curb and rest, I was passing that curb again, just then. By the time I was pulling out onto Elliot I was bawling. Not just for Chester but for the waves of grief and loss that this one memory had unleashed from wherever I had conveniently kept them at bay. The loss of Ron's mom, The absence of Jared these years he's been in Portland, Jesse's loss of several good friends after the betrayal of one fickle, deceptive girl (whom I'd still like to punch in the face) and most freshly the losing of our Church home and relationships.
I'm hurt, I'm angry, I'm feeling like our family meant nothing to the Church leaders & members we tried to bond with in the past 2 years. That the principles that brought us there in the first place, were abandoned in some strange dysfunction of their own pain and history. I feel like my dog, Chester, only my 'family' let me out the door and moved on to new exciting (imaginary?) folks who they can train to bow to the 'new vision' and so not be bothered a moment longer with our concerns or care about our past contributions. I don't think my feelings are rooted in pure truth, but it's how I feel right now. 'Thanks for the thousands of dollars and your service, but now you have 'issues'...so, good riddance'. Were any of those folks really in 'relationship' with us? Or was it only as long as it served their goals, or met their needs. Not a single man ever reached out consistently to form a relationship with my husband, and barely with my son. This played a huge role in their ability to leave. I feel used and quickly forgotten. We knew this was a struggling group of brethren, so perhaps we should not have expected something different. Their own reserves have been taxed beyond measure, I know, but there's something that my parents ingrained in me....'do the right thing, give honor where honor's due, no matter if you feel like it. Do the right thing! Afterward, you can take a long bath and lick your wounds!' And I always think other people have that same sense of responsibility ingrained in them...but they don't. Life has proven that to me over and over. And so, I am disappointed, hurt and angry. Oh Lord, I am wretched and I know it but have no hope at this moment that there is a Church in Arizona that we will be able to call home, for the long haul. Sometimes I wonder if it's better to be ignorant of what God's word declares Church is to be, then we could be oblivious and happy and belong, in some pseudo not quite biblical church somewhere.
Jesus was used, by Judas, by the Pharisees, by the mobs of sign seekers, even by his own disciples in a sense (they hoped for power and thrones, before they fully understood) but ultimately for God's purpose of reconciliation. God's cause is all that matters. I know this is true, but at the moment I am so alone and depressed... no church home at which to go and reflect tonight on our great God's excessively costly act of mercy. And I feel devoid of mercy and full of bitter gall, at the same time I adore my King, I 'hate' my brothers and know that this is in opposition to God's desire and command. I long for fellowship, and I truly believe that our expectations are not unrealistic. For we have experienced that blessed sense of family before with imperfect people and there was grace and humility....but always something has blown it apart... people moving on to new jobs and locales, people who lose their faith, denominations who don't govern and make biblical decisions have destroyed many a solid little church, two such cases, we know first hand.
I rant, I rant... with no resolution in sight. Come quickly Lord Jesus.... I wonder too, if when You return, You will find 'faith' at all?
My prayer... LORD Jesus, raised in power, resurrected in satisfied accomplishment, building Your Father's Kingdom, I long for the power of Your resurrection to be fully applied to your people, to me. Have mercy on me Lord God, restore my broken soul that I might be part of Your work on this wretched, fallen, confused Creation, planet earth. Teach me to forgive, forget and still love as You do. Help me to go on from where I am. I am so far from where I know I should be. You are my only hope. Amen.
I wait at Your tomb.