Posted by: sailingspirit | April 11, 2011

Bridges of Dental Floss

(From an online discussion forum I participated in years ago)

There’s several reasons for joining this discussion, all very good ones.  But truly, the
deepest one, the most honest reason, the reason that motivates me at all hours,
in all conditions, the one that keeps me up at night, is the one I’ll write about here.

Strange title, but it seems fitting to describe the current state of things. “Things” being my relationship with a young non-Christian overseas.  Though I realize now that’s telling the story a bit backwards.  I’ll course-correct:

In sum, I was raised in and fairly active in the church, even in campus ministry the
first half of my collegiate decade.  Briefly contemplated ministry as a career.  But the priestly life didn’t have nearly the exciting draw of my lifelong dreams (semi-permanent lunar habitation), so it remained a side thing.  (A side thing:  In my family, the Christian life was/is an anecdote.)

College life and the real world, they took their heavy toll.  I suffered much, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.  In short, I had a total nervous breakdown by age 30.  (How did mid-life lose 20 years?)

In the final bend of this destructive track I met someone from far, far away who would
surprise me as being so very, very close.  Though, greviously, at that time my heart was too battered and scarred to fully appreciate and embrace all of it.  But the Christ-like love did manage to seep through the cracks and holes.  He showed me what I had long forgotten, or came to disbelieve: that real, self-sacrificing, unconditional love did exist.  That there was
wisdom and goodness to be excavated from “old-fashioned” ways.  And, through him to the greater culture, that worship could be–should be–a beautiful thing. These are only sample summaries; suffice it to say the seeds had been planted.

Before any signs of growth, though, he had to go back home.  Yanked away so suddenly.

Years later, here I am: a tall, healthy, shiny green bean plant soaking up the Son.  I want so very, very badly to show him–“Look!  You started this!  You helped save me!  I want to thank you.”  But I don’t know if I’ll get another chance.  I don’t know if I’ll be allowed in to share my testimony.  Because he is Over There.  In Other-land.  People over there–his family, in particular–don’t want anything to do with me, because I am Different.  I am from Here.  I am a Christian.  And I sob regularly at the irony of it all; he who knew so little about Christ was Christ to me.  He loved me even when I was unlovable.  He did not discriminate against me.  Now, with my new heart, and new ability, I want to love him back in the same ways.  I want to repay him for the greatest gift I ever received.  But those who raised him and filled him with honest love now prevent me–us–from doing so again.  They tell him no.  So he tells me no.  And I cry.  I see him struggle.  But he doesn’t let me see him cry.

There are so many pieces, important pieces, that add so much to the fervor of the story.  To the testimony of it.  But, they are lengthy.  Suffice it to say, then, over the years and the miles what we have left is tenuous.  Like bridges made of dental floss.  Swaying, blowing about in the waves and winds.  Subjected to what comes our way.  Feeling too weak to do any good.

I join this discussion because I need to better understand how something that started so
beautifully and strongly could end up this way.  How the one who made me believe now cannot see how to believe that anything is possible.  How can I get through to tell him that Love is God and God is Love and Love, because it is God, never fails?  How can I get the one who was Christ to me, and still to this day is the living, breathing, tangible example of all God’s incredible amazingness and beauty gifted to us for this life, to see the Christ in himself?  To see Christ, and recive Christ?  And for his family to do the same.  So we can all love each other.  Differences and all.

Why, why do they push away love?  Fear love?  If love never fails, why is discrimination
winning?  Why is fear of rocking the boat preventing love from rocking our world?

Why do I feel like I can’t take a deep breath again until he hears my whole testimony?


How has this impacted your thinking on the matter?

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