Friday, March 20, 2009

Lent Day 21: Endurance, Character, Hope, Freedom

Scripture continues to speak to me in uncanny and unsettling ways. How's this, from Jeremiah 9, for first thing in the morning (Wednesday)?

Beware of your neighbors, and put no trust in any of your kin; for all your kin are supplanters, and every neighbor goes around like a slanderer. They all deceive their neighbors, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongues to speak lies; they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent. Oppression upon oppression, deceit upon deceit! They refuse to know me, says the LORD. [4-6]

Of course, there's also this, from Romans 5:

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. [1-5]

Arrogant of me, perhaps, to speak of "sufferings." Who do I think I am, exactly?

Last night I attended a church meeting in which a committee member sort of freaked out upon learning the broad outlines of something that had been kept confidential by another group within the church. He kept pressing and pressing for details, which were not forthcoming (not from me, but from another church member). Eventually he started fuming about secrecy. I tried to explain the difference between secrecy and confidentiality, but in my doing so fumbled badly because I immediately began an inner freak-out of my own. Everything I tried to say about secrecy indicted me.

I ought to add that this is a member who loves me dearly. This is also a member who, upon hearing my truth, may well be first in line with the tar and feathers. I know I can't and shouldn't go there, but lately I am having a hard time stopping myself.

I thank you for the many kind comments you have left on my previous post. I think it is understandable and natural that the strain of these days should be felt by Beloved and me. But in the experience of it, I have felt somewhat betrayed by the one I feel should be there for me most profoundly. We have talked through this. In Beloved's words, We love each other. We are utterly devoted to each other, and that only grows day by day. We talk through these things, and then we're better.

I feel a great network of prayer is forming out there. I know you are all praying for me; please know how much I appreciate it, and that I am praying for you as well, in all the complexities of your lives. In a world where people are suddenly losing their homes, their jobs, their sense of safety... not to mention in a world where tens of thousands of children starve to death every day and people die violently every hour... my problems diminish, and become what they are: the frettings of an incredibly privileged person. I try to keep perspective. All I can say, and hope, again, is that at the end there will be freedom.


August said...

Of course you "go there" - of course you do. Good for you for recognizing it isn't helpful.

I'm thinking of you & glad you & beloved have talked things through.

Songbird said...


Mary Beth said...

I haven't been here in a long time but wanted to say that I'm praying for you.

LittleMary said...

beautiful post, my darling.