Monday, April 19, 2010

Fear at its Worst and its Best

Many of us are afraid, afraid to the core of our bones of something. For me, it's not something that has the suffix -phobia attached to it, but it's just as real and as scary to reveal, and not even something I would mention today. For those of you who have a fear like that, I hope you know there are others out there who feel that, who understand that.
Yesterday, at church, our pastor discussed the difference between forgiveness vs. reconciliation. He explained it like this: forgiveness is one sided; it's something that one does for one's self and to move on from the pain of that situation. On the other hand, reconciliation is quite different because it involves two people, especially the one who did the wrong earning trust back by showing through their actions that they have changed their behavior. Many people say they're sorry, but words can be cheap. We've all been there. The difficult part is when someone wrongs someone and doesn't recognize their wrong-doing. I've learned that setting up boundaries then becomes necessary, because obviously there's no reconciliation; there is no chance for repairing that relationship or even making it anew without recognition AND the changing of one's behavior. Ok, I know, I sound like a wanna be therapist; this is what years in therapy will do to you!
Getting back to fear, recently I discussed one of my biggest fears with someone close to me, and they did not accept any responsibility for their part in the wrong doing. What to do then? Honestly, the pain I felt multiplied exponentially because of this response. The person said I obviously hadn't forgiven and maybe needed to go back to therapy. Wow.
In return, I stated that reconciliation does not involve going back to business as usual and sweeping things under the rug. And in return, they said they didn't want to do any more than that.
So, what is one to do? I am here to say that I am living fear at its worst: I've forgiven, approached another party to seek reconciliation, and was shot down and shot down by someone I love. That sucks, there's really no other words for it. But, I will survive. I mean, that is what I was raised to do, to survive, and simply, that's what the person wants me to do: simply survive.
Unfortunately, I think life is more than that. I'm sad for those who feel that surviving is the best way to spend their days on this earth, especially when they have choices to breathe each day with color, layers, and depth. I will do differently, because after all, I am making different choices. And again, I will choose to forgive, but it seems reconciliation may be another step further away.
I am encouraged by the fact that every time I mess up, Jesus is there waiting for me to ask forgiveness and always forgives. And when I take steps to change my behavior and ultimately reconcile, again He's there. Finally, and most beautifully, when I reconcile with Him, I am changed. I am closer to Him, perhaps more like Him and able to be there for someone else in a way that I wasn't able to be before.
I recognize it's hard to admit that you're wrong; that's painful, especially when you have good intentions. But sometimes the most tragic things happen in the name of good intentions. I am guilty as charged. When it comes down to it, I don't want to solely be the product of my environment. I want to be more than that, and I can't do that on my own. I need the grace and support of my faith in order to have the hope and tools to do that. I guess when others don't believe along with you, it's hard to make that happen on a personal level. All I can do is pray for God to do something that I can't. Right now my reliance on Him is stronger than ever because of this.
The "whos" and "whats" of the situation is irrelevant; it's the fact that I'm here in it and perhaps some of you are in similar conundrums. An old friend once said, "it is what it is," but I hope for what could be.
The fear will always be there. Fortunately, I see that fear as motivating, inspirational maybe because it's all I can do. I cannot live knowing that I will merely be a survivor of it, but that I must turn it into something more. I know this point of view is only there because of the Holy Spirit in my heart. Surviving is human, transformation is sacred. That's what I know about this fear, and it's my prayer for you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why I Love Being an English Teacher

What an amazing first day back from spring break; I'll take this kind of a day any time!
My day began with book talks which was my privilege to listen to. Eric discussed his experience with City of Thieves, and shared a laugh over how the main character seemed to unrealistically live through situations like a cat with nine lives. Umaymah discussed The Kite Runner, and I was so impressed with her choice of passage to read aloud; it was the part about the kite flying day and connected the passage to how the main character did not have the courage to use his voice to help Hassan, his best friend and brother.
We continued with a discussion of identity and what makes up an identity. It was so powerful to hear my thirteen year old grasshoppers say that they felt their identity but was afraid to step forward sometimes because they weren't able to control other's reactions.
It's days like this that I feel the rays of blessing shine on my heart. This is what it's about. This is teaching on a fantastic, unexpected day. You gotta soak these moments in.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter: He is risen indeed!

Alex's Sermon Notes on Easter Sunday; priceless.
Easter service this morning had me weeping. I didn't expect it at all. I'm not much of a "cryer," especially in church. The message was about grief turning into hope; today is a day to celebrate, to turn the page to see the happy endings of our hard times. This week I would like to dedicate the blog to how different people are celebrating Jesus through the power of His happy ending for all of us. It's there for any of us to choose. Choose Him, choose His redemption because God knows that we all need it, especially me. Enjoy!