A few nights ago, one of the folks from our former church called. Not to ask us how we are. Not to find out why they don’t see us around anymore. Not to ask if we would like to get together.
They called to ask us for . . . Deep breath . . .
And I’m thinking, “Wow.”
Maybe if you cared just a little. Just enough to say, “We miss you and would like to see you sometime.”
Theirs is a noble cause. Though, I must say, I was a bit surprised that they called asking us for money since theirs is a wealthy family. So why ask for our help? Especially when our son has already told them that we are in the midst of helping our own family member who suffered a job loss a few weeks ago?
There was a time when I would have said, “Let’s help.” Now, I’m not so quick to help those who haven’t given a whit about helping me. With a kind word. An invitation. A note in the mail.
For too long, I gave generously. Sacrificially. To those who neither needed my offerings nor wanted my friendship. I have learned from their example that my level of commitment must not exceed theirs. To do so opens one up to abuses.
Several years ago I was the victim of a most heinous form of abuse unlike anything I had ever thought possible. Not having been raised in a Christian home, my first experience with Christians and pastors had been one of joy, grace, fellowship, love, and delight. When faced with the horrors of having the very essence of who I was as a woman of faith stripped from me in what I can only describe as spiritual rape, I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. This was church, after all, and I believed that everything works together for good for those who love God. Somehow, it didn’t make sense that everything was not working together for good. When I was finally able to resign myself to the fact that God was not going to “work this out,” I made my escape and sought a safe haven.
Little did I realize that I was going from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. Oh, how I tried to beat back the flames! Oh, how I prayed and pleaded for mercy, for grace, for a chance. “But hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will toward” Ellen.
He who began a good work . . . had forsaken me . . . and the silence was more than deafening . . . it was defeating. So intertwined were we, that as God went missing, so did Ellen. But I am nothing, if not tenacious.