Judy's spot today at church. Her choir seat. Hers. The one I looked at for I don't know how many weeks and her face was there, sometimes smiling, sometimes singing, but there. It ripped that scab away that I allowed to form around my heart missing her. There is no lonelier place for me than at church, sometimes. I love the music, and how I plug into God through it. I love the messages (most of the time) and remind myself that scripture is scripture, regardless of what's going on in our church. It's where I see people who I genuinely enjoy and respect and love. It's where I take classes I'd never be exposed to otherwise. And it's lonely. Paul is singing, Joseph is elsewhere, Cassie is gone. I don't hear her sing anymore. We don't talk about the message or who we saw or how big some little one is getting.
But more than that, sometimes it's just a huge reminder that Dori and Judy are gone. Dori and I sat together for as long as I could remember; she with her bracelets jangling and sliding down her arm as she raised her hand in praise...she moved. We still keep in touch. But going to church with someone adds a depth and intimacy to a relationship. Sitting next to someone and seeing them nod to a point or tear up at a song, well, it just is bigger than your av-er-age friendship. It's a privilege to share a friend's spiritual walk...at least to me it is.
Judy, man...seeing her sing and stand there and witness the growth in her life. Turning around to hug her or sit with her and Scott, with the kids slumping down in their seats (trying to be invisible??)...well, it was a blessing. And seeing someone in her seat, which is no longer hers, made me cry. Not the pretty cute cry either. Oh no...the wambulance cry. The self pity, I miss my friend cry. The hot tears that wouldn't stop, like a broken faucet, just coming and coming no matter how hard I tried to turn my emotional faucet to the off position. Nope. Just missed her profoundly, deeply, with a broken heart. I miss SEEING my friends...
I know I have all these great friends, and I do. I KNOW I am blessed. But in my zippered, side by side heart, there is gratitude for the friends I have and there is sadness for those I don't see.
There was this song played Sunday:
My One Desire
and the chorus goes like this:
My one desire is to be with You
Sitting at Your feet crying...You are holy
Our one desire is to worship You
Gathered 'round Your throne...You are holy.
I couldn't help (as in, sledgehammer to my head) but think:
but that's not true. Our one desire is not to worship YOU. It's to be right. It's to displace one or the other leader in our church. It's NOT to be in worship. It's to be on the "winning" side. It's to be vindicated and answered to and resolved. And I cried more. I cried for our church being crushed under the weight of pride and self-righteousness.
I think if it was about our one desire in the right place, we wouldn't have all the broken people. I wouldn't have sat with a friend Sunday as we cried for what is going on in our church and the idea they she may leave...we just GETTING to be better friends; real-er friends. And for the price of pride and political wrangling, she may leave. It breaks my heart even more. Like what can we say to each other? I"m so sorry you're going through this? True, but that doesn't seem like enough. I'll be praying...as if we aren't already. And so, in the end, all I can do is be a friend and walk along side. To laugh with her and cry with her...and mostly walk with her. Sigh. Seems like so little when what I want to do is reach in her heart and fix it, but then I"d be God and I am so NOT. And the irony is, to me, that she is so checking her heart's motives and condition. and then seems burdened by what she sees. I wonder if everyone is doing this...doesn't seem like they can be and having the results we are having. Shouldn't we ALL be broken before God? Sorry for our part in this??; My heart hurts for our church...if we just DID have our one desire to be with God, sitting at His feet... well, then I think we could make our way through. But that requires humility and a willingness to look at the ugly and sit in the uncomfortableness of conviction and sorrow and to be able to say "I'm wrong and I"m sorry" Don't see that happening. It seems so much easier for people to choose sides and build walls to hide behind. I think God's heart is saddened by all of this. My heart is saddened by this...but I will NOT give up hope. If God can break through to Paul, he can break through to anyone...and I see the work He is doing in Paul and in us...
Blech. I feel ugly now...I don't like wading through these thoughts and feelings; and yet, I can't deny them either. So, if you are reading this, would you say a prayer for our church? We need heart surgery. We need healing. We need an eternal view on this. We need patience. We need to forgive and seek grace. I guess, in the end, we all need that regardless of what church we are going to...