Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I spent six years in the 'wilderness' before I went back to college to get my degree.

From the time I first encountered the 'fruits' of the Iona Community and the community at Taize, I spent about a dozen years before finding the time, and resources, to visit those places.

Depending on whether you count the day I entered seminary, or the day I was ordained, it took me 22-26 years to finally answer the call to ministry.

So you can see, that I don't have a very good track record when it comes to responding to nudges, urgings, proddings, whispers in the ear, whatever you might call God encouraging someone to do something.

But this time it took only a little over two months (okay, 73 days to be precise).

This morning, on a beautiful, clear, cool morning, while walking Dusty, I finally prayed for the people I hold responsible for my departure from the church I had served for nearly 18 years. I wish I could say that the words, the names, the intent came easily. It didn't. I tried my best to be distracted, to pay attention to the albino squirrel Dusty was stalking, to notice the leaves rustling in the trees, to hear the quiet laughter of children playing in a yard, to grumble about the late delivery of the paper. But to no avail.

Somebody, some One, some where, was pretty darn insistent that I bring these people to mind; that I cradle them in the empty hollows of my heart; that I begin the process of really letting go of the hurt, the anger, the bitterness, the frustration, by speaking their names to the One who knows them, who loves them, who wraps them in grace and peace, even when I can't. So haltingly, reluctantly, uncomfortably, painfully, I prayed.

I wish I could say that I was transformed, that I came home with a lighter step, that the aching tightness in my shoulders and gut and heart wonderfully disappeared, that I was at peace with myself and them. Sadly, no. I think it is going to take a lot more walks, a lot more reluctant prayers, a lot more giving in to God rather than giving in to me, before that happens.

Yet I wonder . . .

are there those times, when the Holy Spirit is as uncomfortable, as pain-filled, as reluctant to pray for me?

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman


Stushie said...

God be with you Thom. You're exorcising ghosts. I know the same feeling. When I left my first charge after nine years, there were people that I shut out of my heart for the hurt they caused.

God bless you on this new journey of faith.

Beth said...

I understand your heart on this topic. While not an ordained minister, I did lead a prayer group in a church that resulted in a lot of personal hurt. Resolution and forgiveness came, after many years and not a few conversations with some of those involved. God heals, but our reluctance, which He understands, makes it a longer process.

Anonymous said...

I think it takes active seeking to be healed, but the process can take a long, long time. One injustice that shattered me took 5 years before the last vestiges were released during a time of prayer where that wasn't even the focus of my prayer - but the imagery was as vivid as anything.
God just loves to surprise us, even with healing!
Prayers are with you.