Wednesday, May 21, 2008

chronic illness

People will stop and ask when they see me. When they call, it's the first question; when they email, it comes up somewhere in the message: 'how are you doing?' And when I respond, 'okay . . . doing good . . . i'm fine' or some variation thereof, there's a pause or a snort or a 'right!' (with the subliminal message of 'i don't think so . . .').

I guess part of it (for me, at least) is that I am not sure how I am supposed to be doing, or feeling, or acting. I've never been in this situation before (forced out of a church due to the unhappiness' of a relatively small group).

Should I be angry? Probably, and I am. Angry that such a group would be willing to risk losing members (especially those families they claim they want in the church) in order to 'win.' Angry that such a group could be so manipulative and deceitful. Angry that folks would be willing to use their money as a weapon against a person or a church.

Should I be depressed? On some days, I am very much so. Not going to the office, not getting to see and visit people, being unable to interact with the children and kids is indeed quite depressing. It's depressing to realize that all the years of talking about forgiveness, grace, hope, inclusion fell on the stony ground in some people's lives. When I had my exit interview with the Committee on Ministry, I came home very depressed, until I realized that, once again, 'they' had dominated the discussion and had gotten back into my head.

Should I be vindictive? Should I be hurt? Should I feel like a terrible injustice has been inflicted on me? Should I feel like I was bullied, harassed, abused by this small group? I could, and probably would find it fairly easy to be.

But then the anger, the depression, the hurt, the injustice, the desire to get even would dominate my life. They would become chronic illnesses in my life, those little 'viruses' that continue to eat away at my heart, my life, my soul. I don't think I want that to take place, and I am pretty sure that God doesn't either.

Maybe that's why God has 'inflicted' me with that chronic condition called trust. It's what got me through growing up with alcoholism in the family. It's what got me through struggles during college. It's what got me through all the despair, heartbreak, fears and worries around Teddy. It's what got me into ministry (after all my years of resistance) in the first place; it's what got me to all the churches I have been blessed to serve, especially this last one.

And it's what will get me to the next place, the next church, the next opportunity, the next place to serve God, to be faithful to my calling as a believer, to be a servant to God's children.

So, the next time you ask me how I am doing, and I say, 'okay . . .'

trust me.

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Will trust that God is holding you close through all this, giving you strength, peace, and comfort. I pray for your healing of great hurt and trust in the God of goodness and grace and new things.