I didn’t expect to win the lottery, or have anything spectacular happen today. I just cared about making it to work in time for a scheduled conference call with the company who hosts our website armed with enough cognitive ability to ask coherent questions because we are planning on updating our site. Designing it will be placed in my hands. I wanted to be on my game.
But as I drove to work and flipped the radio stations, I wanted a boring, average, and normal day. And I was determined to get it. On the shoulder of the freeway, I saw a woman in a car whose back-end was completely caved in just sitting in her car. It almost looked like she was frozen in a panic. Stunned. I imagined what could be going through her mind. Insurance, money, fear, hyperventilation. Leap Day wasn’t so kind to her. She’ll remember this day forever I bet.
Work at the office today was a breath of fresh air away from the quiet of my living room and couch. Laughing, joking, interesting stories, a challenging discussion of issues dominated our staff meeting. I thought. Yep, I’m so ok. This is fine. A nice normal day.
When I got home after my long drive, my son and his girlfriend were in the backyard singing. Working on a song which was a mash-up of Poison and Wine’s Civil Wars and Glen Hansard’s Falling Slowly. It was beautiful, I listened for a while. My daughter was upstairs working on homework. Everything was as it should be. My dog Lucy in my lap.
I left a chat conversation with a friend to run to the grocery store. My favorite checker Dave re-opened his station just so I could go through. He’s a nice older man who always greets me with a smile and asks me how I am. We chat about nothing in particular and then he says have a great day and I smile. But as I walk out of the store today I felt to cry instead. But I don’t. I tell the girl scouts that I don’t want to buy any of their cookies (and that is the truth) and drive home with all the makings for homemade tacos.
The clock tells me I have only an hour to make dinner if I want to get to church on time, so I go at warp speed. Rice, meat, cut up veggies, grate cheese, fry the shells (that is a must with these tacos). And I inhale five (yes you heard right), ask the kids to pick up after dinner, and I grab my keys, and head for church. Can’t seem to convince the kids to go to the midweek study these days.
I walk in as the first song ends and the pastor leading worship tells everyone to say hello to a neighbor. I’m fairly new but not that new. I’ve purposefully kept my distance although I attend almost every service they have. I obligatorily turn to the lady sitting in front of me, smile and shake her hand. I think her name was Lynette. There is a man sitting with his daughter about six chairs over, I just wave to him and sit down. All around me there are about 40 people walking across aisles and stopping along the way to hug almost every person in between. Some are in deep conversation. It’s as if the teacher in a classroom gave a talking pass for 3 minutes to a group of third graders. They were almost giddy to socialize. And I sat there just watching them.
I bring up my feet and crisscrossed them under my legs and get out my notebook and my Bible and willed the love in the room to wind down so I could learn. I almost rolled my eyes at it and thought – stop with the smiles and the hugs already. I’m not interested. I just want this day to be over. Like so many days. I just want to get through it.
The message was strong as always. I learned a lot and about 3/4 of the way in the pastor shared his story quite comically about how it was he came to faith in Jesus. I’ve heard many testimonies in my life. I used to work for a church where I was like Barbra Walters interviewing people and their life stories. I’ve heard amazing ones. His was not amazing. It was typical…like my day. Only that his story resulted in something extraordinary. A changed life. And no matter how normal the story, that outcome does always fascinate me. The changed life of a true believer in Jesus is not typical. I’ve found it to be rare.
It got me thinking about my life and my testimony and if I were asked what would I say. On one hand it has been more boring than most. If I emphasized one story line over another it would even seem pious and devout. But I’ve always prided myself in saying that no matter what was done to me or what I did to others I never gave up on my faith. I never threw my hands in the air as if to say, “I tried it, and it’s too hard, I’m done.” I’ve eventually, sometimes after tantrums, turned back to the Lord and looked to Him for direction.
That is until recently. And I didn’t even realize it until today. This day that thankfully will not repeat itself again for four more years. There is one thing I’ve been so angry at God for that I would not even admit it to myself. Even as I sit here I find it hard to put into words. And it’s this. If Jesus is the head of the church and men are to love their wives as Christ loves the church, why have I never experienced that kind of love from a man? Why do they cheat, lie, and coerce? And these are men who say they love Jesus! These are men who profess to being Christian.
When Martin lied to me and then berated me over email something broke in my soul. Because I started saying to myself that Christian men could not be trusted. Men who call themselves Christian must be the worst kind of people on the planet because they say they’re one thing but don’t live up to the ideals or values.
And I realized, maybe I thought that about all Christians. And maybe that is why I had so little interest in getting to know my new congregants.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Word of God. I love Jesus. But get those Christians away from me. Because they lie. Really? How unchristian of me. How true that statement is though.
I stood for the last song and only listened and stared straight ahead. As soon as I was safe in my car with my door closed the sobbing began. I could feel a weight and urgency and was so paranoid that someone saw that I was upset and might actually reach out to me that I turned on my car and pulled out of the parking lot before anyone had even left the church.
How could I think these things? I’ve worked in Christian ministry along side GOOD people for 12 years. I know the people I know. I know their wives and their husbands. I know they are real people but also true believers. How could I have swung so far against them all? Because whatever was promised and given to them was not given to me? Was this jealousy? Was it an excuse for my own wrong choices?
If I couldn’t trust Christian men, maybe I could trust men who were not Christian? At least with them, I have a different set of expectations? I would not expect them to want to obey Christ. I would expect them to do and think like the world. And then I realized, it’s not just Christians I hate. They get more disdain because they’re supposed to know better. But it’s all of humanity.
I have major trust issues.
So I sat in my car in the garage wondering how I would rectify this dilemma I’m now facing. Loving God but wanting nothing to do with His people. Or any people.
And I remembered the day I ran out of church after my dad died in tears because everyone was worshiping God and I felt disconnected with that joy. I was sad and I wanted to be sad. I was angry but even more I was hurt and I wanted to shield myself from any further hurt. I didn’t blame my dad’s death on people though. But what my ex did and what Martin did to me was their doing. They were men I trusted.
It wasn’t an act of God that hurt me, it was them. I could protect myself from them. Keep all pain out. Cause when I let them in…it’s no good for me. I get hurt. Keep all men out. Just keep them the hell away from me.
I was right Mercenary Guy chose not to be my friend. In fact he deleted his Facebook account and then called me names. Then he apologized. But still…
So this Leap Year day I have discovered I’ve once again put myself into my box and locked it tight. I really gave it all with Martin. I gave him everything I was. Lock, stock, and barrel and he shot me with my own gun at point-blank range.
Tonight I am emotionally exhausted. I know I’m incapable of the kind of hope I’ve given to so many through my writing here on this blog. If I don’t believe it I can’t write it. Tonight I’m the one who feels like Humpty Dumpty. So broken. Realizing I’m so far from the healing I thought I had accomplished. That should be accomplished by my faith that I’m apparently lacking in that up til tonight I had convinced myself was so strong.
Maybe by next February 29th I will be done with this current tantrum and have things in the right perspective. I’ll figure out how to reconcile my love for Jesus and my disdain for humanity. The way I feel tonight, it will take at least that long.