Just a Little Nudge

It’s quite late on evening of our Presidential Election and the polls in Michigan closed more than seven hours ago, and yet I find myself still seated, staring at a computer monitor and enjoying an unexpected conversation with a friend on Facebook.  This night has brought several events I wasn’t expecting.

Michigan had a state constitutional amendment proposal on the ballot concerning loosening state control over embryonic stem cell research. We spent some time discussing just what this amendment would actually mean– for science and for the sought-after-embryos. I’ll save my opinion on that issue for a later date, and I do have a strong opinion on it, by the way.

Our talk drifted into other things as well.  Artistic endeavors, Spiritual gifts, a little of this, a little of that.  It’s been delightful, and stimulating.  My friend has encouraged me to continue writing– he thinks I have a little talent for it! At least that’s the impression I got.  I don’t know how one gauges such things, but I’m a little biased about my own writings.

So I’ve gotten  a little nudge with some wonderful encouragement and an invitation to join  Creative Community, though no formal invitation was ever required.  With that little bit of sweet contentment I’ll be on my way to curl up under my covers, which we both said we needed to do about two hours ago– and save my commentary on politics, ballot proposals or any other potential hot button issue for another day.

When Sorrow Returns (Unexpected) Joy

I was honored this week when a friend shared some very intimate details of their life. I wasn’t looking to shame, blame or point fingers and take aim. I also wasn’t looking to pry. I offered an e-mail “ear” should they want to vent a bit.

My friend took me up on the offer, and a message was in my inbox the next day. I was expecting a page full of venom and spite. There was none—not even a hint of it. What I read was someone who really, truly had a desire to confess a wrong and just as fervently, wanted to reconcile with those who were hurt in the aftermath,

My initial reaction was to fire off a reply—any reply—just so they would know I had gotten the message. What does one say after another bares their soul? “Got your message; we’ll talk later” did not match my friend’s sincerity and desire to reconstruct their integrity. By disclosing such intimate details I don’t think they were concerned about “image”. Of course, we only worry about our image when we try to balance on the pedestal others put us on. They didn’t want to be on that pedestal and knocked it out from under themselves before the mortar of my imagination dried. And I’m glad they did.

In the previous post I wrote how one little word can get a big reaction from people. My friend wasn’t trying to react, or get a reaction. They wanted to confess a sin to their fellow-man and their Maker and take steps toward forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. I learned a little something about someone else, and in reflection, learned a lot more about me instead.

I’ve told people not to put me on a pedestal when they think I’ve done something remarkable. I’ve realized they don’t want to keep balance on one either, for when they fall off—and we all will—the builder of said pedestal is more hurt by their fall than the one put there.

The guilt of un-confessed sin is a crushing weight that gets buried in your heart and soul, but then takes root and grows into cynicism and resentment. It’s very subtle. Like a river washes away its bank and reshapes its course, so cynicism and resentment do to our relationships. It is much harder and more labor intensive to repair the damage than it is to do preventative maintenance. I have learned this the hard way.

I’ve also taken away this little gem: bearing one’s own soul through confession is risky indeed, but is likely to be more fruitful than expected. If you are trying to stay balanced on the imaginary pedestal then the only thing harvested feeds your own ego. If you allow yourself to fall off, and after the dust settles, I’m sure you will find you are not alone. Grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing will meet you wherever you are. If the people wounded are still there with you, offering a hand to help you back to your feet, you are truly blessed indeed. It is here that humility feeds the hearts of the weary around you, and inspires them to take courage.

I don’t know that I’m ready yet to sow seeds of confession far and wide, but my weary heart has been fed and the Fruit in it has been watered again.

Thank you, friend, for planting a blessing.