Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Confessional Resolution

Wake up calls come in a variety of ways. Thank God for the wake up calls that open our eyes and bring us to our knees. We received this short letter yesterday from B, an inmate that we’ve corresponded with since 2003.

B’s Letter …


I’m writing to say thank you both. I’ve learned a lot over the past year. My relationship with Christ is growing each day. I was not going to write due to the fact I’ve written a few times with no response. I just want to say you have helped me though my time here. I hope to hear from the both of you. Love, B

My Response …

Dear B,

It’s a foggy spring-like day today. A mockingbird is singing a pretty song in the oak outside. Your letter arrived yesterday. Shirli picked it up at the Post Office and read it to me over the phone. I felt ashamed of myself for my negligence, nothing less than foolishness on my part.

I owe you a serious apology, B, for the LONG delay in writing. Shirli and I have simply been overwhelmed. We’ve been living the past couple of years in a whirlwind of difficult family matters, allowing ourselves to get too caught up in too many otherwise good activities with the Church, and running from pillar to post just to keep up with it all.

None of us have control over the crises that visit our families. We live through them and do the best we can with God’s help. The other “stuff” is another story altogether though when we finally see it for what it is.

It’s stuff that has a way of imposing itself and usurping time, emotion, and energy, the kind of stuff that cuts in on and interferes with already long standing priorities and commitments. It’s the kind of stuff that draws you in and puts you over your head without you noticing that it’s happened until you are gasping for air. Some of it has been good for us. Some of it though has taken its toll on us.

Shirli and I have begun working our way out of some of the stuff. We’ve allowed ourselves to be drafted onto too many committees and drawn into too many study groups. I think that’s one of the dangers of being the new folks at church, especially in a large church. SLCC has over 1200 families and there is no end of the need for people to serve in one capacity or another. Everybody is after you. It felt good at first to be welcomed and accepted into this wonderful fellowship. We all need acceptance. But we’ve had to learn to say no to too many invitations.

Back in December I was sitting on the tailgate of my truck in the middle of the woods. I was all alone for the day, hunting and experiencing the solitude of the woods. When I finished eating lunch, and was listening to the wind whistling in the pines, I opened a New Testament and read Psalm 8. It was one of those Providential things. Tears filled my eyes and I gave thanks. God came and visited me. It was then that I really came to realize how stretched out I had become. It came home to me. I was able to begin naming some of the things that I had been feeling. And I’m still recognizing and naming things.

2009. It’s time to stop running so hard and regain some of our perspective. We’ve never been big ones for making resolutions but we do have some resolve going into this New Year. One resolve is to reclaim some time so we have some time to do important things like just loving God in prayer and in the Word, camping and walking some trails, hunting and fishing, watching sunrises and sunsets, and doing better at writing letters and keeping in touch with folks that are important to us.

You are important to us, B. Thank you for your letter. Thank you for writing “one more time” and letting us know that your faith is growing. I think this “one more” letter is part of the wake up call that started on the tailgate of my truck back in December. God bless you. Please write again soon.