A Walking Paradox
Dealing with the contradictions and challenges of faith, disbelief, and living and dying
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I mentioned the other day that I was undertaking the practice of writing letters to persons during this Lenten season. I wrote my grandmothers the other day here, because I could not send letters to the deceased and wanted to push myself in my writing. Today, there was another that I could not bring myself to send the letter to, and that was someone who hurt me, and I realize that writing such a person online here in a public forum could open itself wider than I wish, so I will write with feelings, but without specifics.
Dear Person Who Hurt Me,
I want you to know that while I still remember that pain you caused, I also realize my own failures to stand up for myself, be confrontational of the problems, and call upon the help of others.
I forgive you. I know you are better now than you were then. I give thanks for your presence in my life as it allowed me a friend for a time, and taught me good lessons as I went through life about how to deal with conflict.
Know that I pray for you often, and especially during this season of Lent in the church.
May you find peace and joy in your life now.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I have been working this practice for Lent 2013.
However, as I came to the letters for March 8 and March 11, it occurred to me that these were just letters I could not actually send.
I decided to write both of my Grandmothers, and both of them have passed away, so I thought perhaps I might write them up here.
Dear Grandma Ruth,
In some ways it seems that so much is now done, as we have laid your ashes to rest, sold your old house, relocated any items that were not sold or donated, and memorialized you in other ways, like the dog park in Bishop and our own All Saints' Services.
What is not done are my memories. This day, I am reminded of those times where you were a very strong mother figure to me. I am very aware of your mothering, with Sue and Wil. You took John, Connie and Dayle under your wing and cared for them, and called them your own. As your grandkids you cared for us, as babysitter, friend and playmate. You looked ahead, and were generous with your giving, as well as sending along particular bits of advice.
I remember riding in the back of the station wagon, running about to Griffith Park, to Lacy Park. I marvelled at the treasures you had, from the kitsch in the closet, to Cokes in the fridge, stacks in the garage, swords and books.
You were sure to help me get settled when I got out on my own with my first appointment at Santa Barbara FUMC, with some furniture, rugs and helping me look just so, with the gift of a new robe for my role as pastor.
Thank you. I love you.
Dear Grandma Roberta,
Thank you for keeping after me to send Thank You letters for the gifts I have received over the years. One that has been too long in getting written is a simple thank you for who you were, your inspiration, and your love shared with me during my life. I miss you.
I miss the opportunity to talk with an intelligent woman about the world, the markets, politics and religion. I appreciate the admonitions you gave me about ministry, and the way in which you helped me to look the part.
I miss days of playing in the pool, badminton, picking lemons and limes and games of chess, cards or scrabble. In fact, I think of you almost every time I open up my game of "Words with Friends" and wish I had had this years ago, as I think you would have had a blast playing with your grandkids and chatting with us in this unique way, even after your strokes.
I miss having the comfort of a crash pad along my routes to and from places across the conference for ministry, and a smiling warm face to greet me in my passing, and the knowledge that Grandma's house might be a chance to encounter family that I might not get out to see otherwise.
I miss the family parties, and the central gathering focus you provided for drawing us all in.
I miss you. I love you.