Something is Mi ing

*Deep breath*

Beginning this post has caused me a fair amount of unease . . . I feel like I’m stalled in neutral, burning rubber, with the words “GO!” blinking green over my head, but each time I think I might be ready to do just that, I lose all momentum and peter out again, left inhaling the noxious fumes of my own exhaust pipe.

I suppose the wise thing to do would be to take some more time and process, then come back when I do know where to begin. The only problem with that is I can’t seem to move on — or if I’m using the same analogy — I can’t seem to get out of the vehicle and leave it be while I go off to think. When I try, it jumps onto my shoulders and rides piggy-back, making it rather difficult to go on with my day.

I need this car off my shoulders.

Writing — typing — it down on paper may be the only way to do that. First off, I want to apologize if any of this feels scattered and fragmented. Were this a synopsis, I might make an outline to collect my thoughts better, but life is not literature, and I don’t want anything I have to say feeling manufactured. Totally and completely, my hope in sharing this is that there might be someone who benefits from hearing it. Those who know me well, know that my face reads like an open book. My feelings are front and center, dangling from each sleeve. There is very little I am not willing expose about my struggles and hurt if the result is fruitful.

Honesty and Vulnerability: these two attributes have always come very natural to me. I say natural, but more accurately would be the word innate.

Let me explain it this way:

I am incapable of remaining on the surface of things. At least for any length of time, that is. Obviously when you first meet someone, there is certain amount of chit-chat that occurs during the interim of establishing familiarity. But, for me anyway, this is always a very brief period of time. If relationships are like oceans, then I am a deep-sea diver. Bypassing all the kelp, muck and gunk floating at the top, I want to propel straight to the bottom. This is where exotic fish obscure themselves in coral, where pearls are hidden inside clams, where caves and winding tunnels lead you to discover untold treasures. What I want . . . is access to what makes a human soul exquisite, and in return, offer you mine. Heavy? Yes, I know. Quite honestly, I’ve often thought so myself and convey just as much from time to time. But until our time is no longer hindered by body and firmament, I don’t get to know why I was born this way — with an intense desire to connect with people, and a hunger to know one fully and be fully known in return. I have to believe, however, that it wasn’t an accident. I have to believe that having my heart-broken isn’t in vain. There must be a Greater purpose.

I should mention that, in this case, my usage of “natural” should not be confused with “easy.” There is nothing — nothing, whatsoever — easy or safe about being vulnerable with another human being. There is always risk involved. Some are riskier than others. Some suffer past hurts and remain private and guarded. Some have neither the motivation or inclination. And some have no choice at all, because giving something and giving everything hold no distinction.

Okay. I might actually be ready to begin. Bit of an lengthy intro, but it ties in with what’s to come.

One last thought: more than anything, I think what hinders me from “starting” is that I shy away from anything that might be perceived as indulgent or self-absorbed. I was brought up in home where the words “The world does not revolved around you, Cara.” were spoken often to me. For years and years and years I heard these words. To be honest, as a little girl, I didn’t quite get it. I mean, I understood that I was being called selfish, and of course I knew that the world did not literally rotate around my physical being, but I didn’t get it. On my best day I would never profess to being a perfect child; mouthy, brash, with a bit of a temper (<— under-estimation) but, all in all, I was a good child. I don't believe at six years old I was in danger of becoming a narcissist or succumbing to insouciance. But these words left a lasting impact on me, and as a result, have made me extra sensitive not to be a burden on people. I will listen far more often than I will speak. Listening skills are nothing to flout; I think most of us would do well to listen a great deal more than we speak, but for a healthy relationship to thrive, a reciprocity must exist.

A moment ago I compared myself to a deep-sea diver. I also mentioned having my heart-broken; this is where I want to start.

In the last year or two there have been some big changes in our — my husband and I — lives. Our church, once around 30 in size, joined with another church — around 100 in size — to be become a church of around 130 in size. I, for one, was very excited about this merge. I had reservations, of course, about losing the intimacy and the open-forum atmosphere our small numbers accommodated. It wasn't a seamless transition and unfortunately we didn't take our entire church with us, something that grieved me. Overall, though, I was hopeful of the things to come. Of the 30 people in our church, Michael and I were the only one of our kind (twenties with no children.) While I don't think one necessarily has to be in the same life-stage to enjoy a friendship, I was eager to meet a few couples our age, and maybe even a few girls I could grab coffee with once in a while.

In an effort to bring the two churches together, we collectively participated in some activities with the hope of building friendships, and I took it upon myself to approach a few ladies, expressing a desire to get to know them better. Months later, for some, this seems to have been successful. There are certainly those who have transitioned well. Unfortunately, we are not among them. Every Sunday I leave heavy-hearted, asking myself a question I haven't thought about since sixth grade, when I used to eat lunch by myself in the math-room: "Why don't they like me?" I am not a shy woman, though walking up to an almost complete stranger and starting a conversation is a little daunting, even for someone such as myself. I remind myself then that feelings are like muscles; the ones you use most frequently will be strong and capable, the ones you don't, weak and ineffective. Discomfort should never stand in Possibility's way.

The risk I was taking in befriending strangers was high, but so was the pay-out, in my opinion. Ultimately, I may have set my expectations a little high. Then again . . . maybe not. While I continue to pray about where it is God wants me and where I can be of most use to Him, I have cause to wonder. Is it here? It there a place for my gifts? Am I benefiting anyone? Am I to keep trying to break through walls that won't crumble? It's possible that maybe the answer is one I'm not prepared to hear. It's possible, after all my praying for confirmation, that the door has gently been shut on me. As difficult as that may be to swallow, I have to consider it.

A person's time is bit like ocean front real-estate; there is only so much undeveloped land available for acquisition. Between a spouse, children, a job perhaps, time alone with the Lord, and the friends accumulated over the years, that doesn't leave a lot of space for additions. In order to make room for a new relationship, a renovation needs to happen. Before that, though, there needs to be desire. Every individual is arbiter of their value system, placing priorities one on top of the other. That part of me which is innate, longing for meaningful and deep relationships, has always upheld a high value on relationships. I will always find a way to make room.

Whether I'm simply not liked, or the reasons for lack of effort result from busyness and disinterest, I am becoming more and more convinced I'm being called outside this church. The hello's in passing, the smiles from across the room, everyone talking to the same people they talk to every single Sunday — this wasn't what I envisioned for us. Truthfully, I don't think it's what anyone envisioned. A mixture of comfort, oblivion, and resignation, I think we've settled.

We can stand up, hold hands, and recite some pretty words, but all I see when I look around, is two churches existing inside one building.

Another change that took place very recently was the launching of our Crafting Water ministry. Both Michael and I were so excited about this, and wanting to share that excitement, sent out an e-mail to about 50 friends, family, and church-family. Now . . . I know myself extremely well, and in the past have let unrealistic expectations spoil things, so I made sure to keep that in mind. I’m incredibly glad I did. Of our church-family, not one person responded to that e-mai. It was like having the wind knocked out of me 50 times.

As a way of showing support, it’s not uncommon for our church to take a moment during announcements to mention an endeavor such as this one, or invite the person(s) up to speak about their ministry in front of the congregation. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t one to say, “That’s great!” or “How can we support you?” Some time passed and thankfully a few church-friends have offered encouragement and shown a bit of interest, but mostly it was those I never would have expected to care at all, that cared the most . . .

My husband — the pithy one — has a great quote he says to me when I’m left confounded over a lack of involvement from friends.

“If they couldn’t understand it, then it wasn’t for them.”

These are great words. True words. Unfortunately they don’t make the hurt go away. How do I make sense of all of this? How do I put into terms that don’t leave me aching and bruised, that the people who are, in theory, supposed to love me the most are, in actuality, loving me the least?

The answer: love them anyway and love boldly.

Among the 6.9 billion humans populating the Earth, there are only two of whom I entirely trust my heart — dark spots and all — with: my husband and my Savior. I need not trust someone to love them, though. And it is not a choice at all, but a commandment. I do this because I was first loved, knowing that this, too, came at a very high risk, and consequently costing a man His sinless life.

What saddens me, more than anything else, is the Great potential squandered. Of all church paradigms I been a part of over the last 10 years, the philosophy and concept behind our church is exceptional. Yet it remains concept and philosophy until the day real, genuine love surpasses fond ideals and perorations. Right now what we have is broth; a satisfactory base prepped for ingredients which will make it flavorful and rich. With chicken, vegetables, and seasonings, lasting sustenance is possible. Left at a broth for an extended duration, and the body renders itself a colander, purging that once promised as nourishment.

I want to shout at the top of my lungs “There is so much more!” Can’t you feel it? Can’t you feel what’s missing? The decision would be simpler if it were cruelty or viciousness I was up against. Were it an evil dictated by ignorance that resolves in people meanness and hate, I could fight that. Prejudice, racism, defamation and slander, religious and political embroilment, these are ugly and dangerous, but relatively unambiguous evils. This . . . this listless and cavalier behavior leaves me clutching steam and pinning down clouds.

My voice is but one, and it is likely not the majority. These shared sentiments belong to that of my husband and myself, only. For now, I will continue as I have, extending a hand to any who wish to take it, offering a willing heart. I will love boldly. But I have no interest in a quick return, I am looking to make an long-term investment, and am prepared to leave in order to find those who seek the same. I will not languor in stultification for much longer. And if you have no desire or room for me, I will take my love and offer it to someone who wants it.

Love will not fail.

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24 thoughts on “Something is Mi ing

  1. I’m not a fount of wisdom, but I had two thoughts as I read your post. We were in the military for 10 years and did a bit of traveling/moving. The rule of thumb I found, was it takes a year to start feeling comfortable and making friends. Sometimes a little less, but that seemed to be the average. I don’t mean that to sound discouraging, it was just how it was. By reaching out and talking to others at church, you are on the right track. A fun, friendly face is hard to resist! 🙂
    The other thought was about the disinterest in your project. My nephew was giving me statistics one day (can’t remember them exactly) about how many times people have to visit a blog before they join/buy something/comment. Perhaps that is the same for other things, such as ‘acting’ on your project. Keep your chin up and keep spreading the word! People just need to keep hearing about it several times and then they will act!
    As you said so eloquently, “Love boldly!”

    • I appreciate your thoughts, Kelly 🙂 And I understand how you, especially with your vast experience with abrupt change and having to acclimate very quickly, or else be miserable, would see things in terms of time and persistence. If I believed it were only a matter of time, though, I never would have shared this post. To me, that would serve better as a journal entry, falling under “Complaints.” Yes I am discouraged, and yes I feel a rejection of sorts, bu what I shared goes beyond that. There is a danger in staying right where you are because it’s comfortable, because it fits, but you miss out on the deeper facets of life with that mindset. In some cases — not all, of course. There are the exceptions — the idea isn’t to wait until your comfortable to act. In terms of stepping outside your comfort zone for the sole purpose of doing good, action must sometimes precede feelings.

      As far as the ministry, the idea was never to turn this into a business. In fact, I have prayed that it never grows outside my means. My priority is to finish my book! 🙂 And God willing that will happen. Crafting Water was about all obedience and finding a way to practically bless others — not sales. All we were hoping for was the support from people we considered family. While it may be perceived by some as self-pity, I meant this as a caution. People need to know they’re cared for. Nothing else matters without that foundation. My belief is that self-worth begins and remains with Jesus, but is carried on by those you’re in communion with. You could have every opportunity to be and do the most incredible things with your life, but if you have not love to share and receive, everything dwindles to meaninglessness.

      Loving boldly is anti-virus. It’s what keeps the bitterness away. 🙂

  2. Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable in hopes that it can help someone else. It is one of my most favorite things about you, and I believe one of the many things that allow His light to shine so brightly out of you!
    As I was reading, I felt like I was right alongside you, crying tears of disappointment and heartbreak at failed expectations. But, I absolutely loved the last few paragraphs where you talk about loving because Jesus first loved us, costing Him everything. And out of that, we are called to love boldly and, thank goodness, He assures us that love never fails! The deep sea diver that He has made you is so incredibly beautiful to me, and has blessed my life in more ways than I could share with you. As I said yesterday, you truly are a rare gem and not everyone will have the eyes to see that. But the ones that do see your wonderfully unique light and gift, will hold you in a dear places in their hearts forever. Level 5… What what?!

  3. I feel your pain and know it well. I once pastored a small congregation with about 60 or so each Sunday. What I came to realize while there, and what almost cost me my ministry, is that so many Christians are simply… content. They like their church the way they do church. Smaller churches always talk about growing, but only within the limited context of adding members in order to sustain what they are already doing. They don’t want newfangled ideas or approaches to ministry because that’s not how they “do” church. They are content. But worse than that, not only are they content, they are zealously protective of their contentedness, resulting in walls, barriers, and general distrust, which prohibits that sense of closeness and intimacy for which you inately yearn.

    People often say that the deadliest of the infamous 7 sins is pride. Pride goeth before the fall and all that. But theologian Karl Barth suggested one that is far deadlier: sloth. Sloth is not defined as laziness, but rather as a lack of desiring or caring to do any better. I personally believe he was right. Just as love inherently involves risk, so also growth inherently involves change. And change is something most people (and especially small church people) fear greatly.

    My suggestion to you, if you wish to grow within your current church context is first of all to “buy in” to what the church is already doing. You must become one of them; love what they love. Change in a small church comes almost exclusively from within. But you must also accept the risk that you may never truly become one of them, but ever remain an outsider. In this church I served, nearly everyone was family and it was always obvious who was not. They were never at the luncheons or in Sunday School or other activities. I once asked why and was told “Those just feel more like family things and we’re just not comfortable. We don’t feel welcome.” But there were a couple of outsiders who had become part of the family. They were the exception, and they were the ones who had “bought in”. They participated in all the events and were hard workers, but always as support cast. In other words, they never offered anything new, only help. I suspect however, that after the many years they had spent in that capacity, had they wanted to change something they probably could have.

    But as for me, the pastor in that context is always considered temporary. Eventually the frustration of trying to encourage genuine growth and new directions, while constantly encountering contentedness, drove me to the point of realization. I could not change them. I was not willing to join them, at least not in their contentedness. Consequently, I needed a change… or I was done. God was not done with me, and so he opened a door.

    You say your thoughts are your own and you are not in the majority, but I think that the reality of just how many people have left the church indicates otherwise. It is not as though these people are not seeking God, they just are not finding God in the church. And so they, like you potentially, have gone elsewhere seeking that depth of love and relationship which they have not found in the church.

    Blessings to you in whatever direction God leads you to go.

    • Thank you, Scot. There is certainly wisdom in what you are saying, and I thank you for your sincere thoughts. While pains of the heart can seem especially profound at times, I can always take solace in scripture as a dolorifuge, namely 2 Corinthians 4:17. I have hope that no matter where it is God leads us, it will not be outside His will. 🙂

  4. Hello Cara!

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I really like the way that you write and I enjoy reading all your blogs, though I don’t respond. (I am not a very good writer and have a hard time expressing myself in words).

    We all go through stages like this, and I too, being in a similar situation, feel a bit unconnected after the merger of our churches. Soemtimes I chock it up to the fact that we were OVERinvolved and needed a bit of a ministry “break”. But, then on Sudays I too see the “Hi’s” and “Hellos” and get tired of the surface level conversation. That is one reason I planned a Women’s Christmas Brunch back in December. I was feeling very disconnected from a lot of the people at our church and I know how important female friends are. I was hoping it would be a time for more women to get to know each other and conncet. But, alas, only a handful of women attended. While we had a good time, I felt very dejected and unloved. The wind was knocked out of me!! I too cried, “Why don’t they want to be friends with me???!!!”

    Since that event “failure” in my mind, I have felt even more disconnected. I wonder also if there is another place for us.

    Again, thanks for sharing. We seem to be going through the same thing. Oh, and BTW…I responded to that email you sent about your new ministry!! Do you remember!?

    -Suman <

    • Thank you, Suman. Again, it is an honor to know that you enjoy what you read 🙂 And I absolutely LOVE hearing your thoughts, musings, commiserations on anything and everything!! I must say, too, that you express yourself quite well. Not for one second did I think one bit of what you had to say came across less than clear and heartfelt. You would probably think me factitious, but I actually feel a profound strain at times, grasping the precise words I am looking for when writing. Very truly, writing is a challenge more often than facile.

      Wow . . . Quite honestly I was taken aback while reading this. Never would have I imagined you felt the same as I. I know there are a handful of us who have expressed their feelings of disconnectedness and an aversion from many unwilling to move past the “Getting to know yous” With you being an elder, I wouldn’t have presumed you to be among them, though. It just goes to show that until we risk vulnerability and honesty, the truth remains obscured and perceptions skewed. Your Christmas brunch was something that I had actually planned on attending. I remember scheduling it in my calendar, and then it just so happened that particular week was insanity, and by Saturday, I was both exhausted and wearied. Not wanting to impose that mood on anyone, I decided to stay home. When I read that you felt dejected and unloved, my heart broke a little. As someone who has experienced that feeling, I know exactly how wounded you must have felt. It’s a wretched, wretched feeling, rejection. With the help of my husband (Thank you, Jesus!) I have come to realize that — for the most part — people are not intentionally spiteful or aloof, but over over-extended and already have a full Rolodex. There is only so much room for special commitments, and if you are not plugged in somewhere else in a persons’s life, chances are there just won’t be the desire to pursue a relationship. Busyness is the death of so many things.

      Both Michael and I, and a few others, are looking for ways we can practically offer more opportunities for relational time. We do so with the expectation that most, if not all, will not show up or want to be a part of this. That’s okay. Though we hope for the best, everything we do will be with Jesus in mind, and what He would ask of us. We do not worship a God of fear, but a God of power, and we have been given that power to love boldly, without the threat of insecurity. There is no love greater than His, and we have it! We will choose to love until it becomes clear, as it did to Jesus, that some are not willing to receive it. We can only offer our lives; it’s up to them to accept a place in it. 🙂

      Yes, I do remember! And you and another friend, Sandy, were the two ladies I referred to when I said “a few church friends did respond”. Your support meant a lot to me then, as it still does now. I look forward to getting to know you better!

      • John and I are not elders anymore. We stepped down in June 2011. We had actually planned to stepped down in January 2011 (after 2.5 years of serving), but when Bobby announced the merger, we prayed and felt the Holy Spirit telling us to see it through the merger. Then, it was time for us to take a “ministry break”!

  5. Cara, (and I am also going to reply to Suman, because she is awesome!)

    How brave I think you are for putting your heart out there! I have told several people, including you, I think, that I will know when I can make a sensible decision about the church when I can get through an entire service without crying or being ticked-off. I haven’t gotten there yet.

    I look at the crowd each Sunday, and I see so much love for Christ and so much potential for fellowship. But, like you, I see two churches politely meeting side-by-side.There seems to be such a concern not to upset anyone from the larger church that no one wants to start from scratch and really build a new church with new traditions, ways of relating, and ideas for change.

    I, like you, was happy to see Suman’s message (although not happy to see her be sad!) because I thought I was alone in feeling so sad.

    Thank you, Cara!

    • Thank you so very much, Penni, for including your thoughts on this 🙂 When I sat down to write my heart on paper, I had no idea so many others were feeling the same way. On the one hand, I am grieved we have spent this length of time suffering silently, but on the other, I am grateful we now know we are not alone! God is moving in this; I can feel it. There are changes on the horizon, whether they be at TOL or not. I look forward to seeing where He is taking us.

      Love you, Penni!!

    • Hm . . . We do, as a matter or fact, live in Southern Ca. When writing this article, I saw no purpose in including the name of where it is we go to church. The desire was to share my heart and my hope, not to slander a church or cause dissension. I thank you for your prayers! They mean very much to my husband and I. And honestly, we are hopeful and excited about where the Lord is moving us, even amid no idea what that said place might be 🙂

  6. Cara,

    Wow! I am exhausted after reading this entire blog, truth is I am just exhausted these days. I am very sad to hear about how disconnected and disappointed you and Michael feel and am surprised as well, thinking that you were a part of a Parish group that seemed pretty close. Unfortunately I think that many, including myself may feel that disoriented feeling. I am not sure what to think, we have found some couples who are our age and have had a great time connecting. Remember we were on the older side of our old church so I think it was refreshing for us to connect with others who were in a similar life position and the truth is that I attended Serrano for years and didn’t feel connected. I thought it had more to do with me than others. One thing I’ve come to realize about myself is how different from others I am. I think this may be the case with you as well. Not many people care to do the work it takes “emotional” work to understand and articulate and want to share that part of themselves and in that way I believe you are exceptional. That may be the very gift that God gave you to share, which can be lonely at times. But very rewarding also. Sorry for the run on and on.

    Thank you Cara, for sharing and I hope you will forgive me for not making a greater effort to be connected with you and Michael. I guess I feel that you two have your thing and are complete and don’t have needs. How wrong I am…

    While reading your blog, I thought of Kat and how much you sound alike as well and am glad that you included her in your Wednesday book club.

    For us, this past year has been like a marathon, so much work…I know as I write this I hear her disappointment that I share this way and I realize she doesn’t understand what a huge impact she has had on our life in being stretched and exhausted by the emotional roller coaster and if I didn’t know that God was using her in our life as much as she is using us in hers, I would have given up a long time ago. That said, I think that having someone who shares her deep sensitivity could be a huge blessing to her, so for that I am encouraged.

    I don’t have any answers, just typing away in the wee hours of the morning and realizing how hungry I may be for expression.

    Thanks again Cara for your gift of expression and reflection that helps to move people.

    humbly, exhausted,
    Donna

    P.S. Perhaps you and Michael should come to our Parish for a visit. It’s a good group and I know eventually it will need to split because it’s so big but definitely a mixed group and you two might enjoy it.

    • Donna,

      Thank you taking the time to come by and read over my blog. I have only a wee idea of how hard you work — Kat happened to mention your work ethics on Sunday, with both admiration and concern — and appreciate the exhausted moments you took in sharing your heart with me. What you say, I fear, is true . . . I wouldn’t go so far to use the word exceptional — though, I thank you for using it 🙂 — to describe how I relate with people, but I do know it sets me apart from most individuals . . . Part of me refuses to believe that I am the minority; weren’t we all created with a fierce desire to connect on deeper levels? The mundane and monotony of “How are you?” “How was your weekend?” “Anything new going on?” This wearies me. One can not survive on that sort of empty blather. Or maybe they can, apparently; though, I resolutely believe it takes more effort to build walls than it does to break through them.

      Innately, I believe that each of us, every single human being, longs to give of themselves, be received, and receive others in return. What I am most certain of is the ignorance and fear that keeps us right where we’re at. For those who are afraid, it is because of wounds that have not yet healed; only through Jesus can fear be driven out and perfect love be made (whole.) Ignorance is the more frustrating of the two, but understandable all the same. If one is not taught, then how can one be expected to do? I suppose I was fortunate in that I had parents who gave me room to speak. I was not always spoken to with kindness or love, but what I said mattered, and to be honest, I think that is all one ever wants. To matter. To someone. Deeply.

      It blesses me to see the family you, Kat, and Pete have become. I know this is not without the grace of God, and a dedication to one another — no matter what. Commitment, in my opinion, is far greater than love. Or what we, as mortals, whittle that word down to. Hm. I feel a blog-post coming on 🙂 Anyhow, I look forward to having Kat in our book club and am thrilled the Lord is moving in us after so long left in want. Aaron and Tiana are a blessing we never would have expected. The two of them have shown us more in the last two weeks about friendship, than the last year at our church. It just goes to show that life-stage has very little to do with potential. Relationships are about two things: motivation and commitment.

      Thank you for inviting us to join your parish. M and I are still trying to figure out where the Lord is guiding us. We would not want to come, only to leave a couple weeks later. For now, the book club is a good way of staying involved without needing to make any decisions as far as long-term. We are giving our situation to God, ready to take a leap of faith if doors continue to remain closed to us. Our church is teeming with potential. It is quite honestly painful to see so much potential without the subsequent yearning to use it. My gift — and my curse — is loving people. Both M and I need to be a part of a church that wants to do life together. Not Sunday morning worship, not Weds night parish — all those things are good, mind you, but they are not life. Life happens in the spontaneous and unforeseen. Life happens when you make a call and say, “We’re going to get Chipotle; want to come with us?” Life happens when you’re stranded without your AAA card, and you need a ride. Plans and well and good, but often enough they go to the pooper. I don’t want acquaintanceship. I want agape — and I’ll fight for it, always.

      Well, you see, you propelled me into tangent and now I have gone on and one, too. And . . . I loved every minute of sharing back with you. I hope we can do more of this, my friend. I still remember fondly our conversations after church, back when we were still Serrano Hills. In fact, I don’t believe we ever did schedule that dinner-date? 🙂 . . . I can imagine the role appearances play, making it seem as though everything were fine and dandy. Whether M and I ever have “a thing,” such will rue the day it ever conflicts with meaningful relationship.

      Much love to you.

  7. I struggle daily with many of your points here. I will follow your writing and I hope to continue to find your words as inspirational as your writing is lucid. Your usage and vocabulary are such a pleasure to experience.

    Cheers,
    M

    • What a genuinely lovely, well thought-out comment. Thank you, M. (I looked for your name on your blog, but was only able to locate was The Blissful Adventurer. I could call you TBA, though you might always be wondering what I was about to announce :)) I look forward to keeping up with your posts as well, and found your writing effortlessly enjoyable.

  8. I was honored that you took the time to visit, read, and make such lovely, encouraging comments on my blog today, Cara.

    You are, indeed, one who reaches out and makes an effort to connect.

    I’ve found myself in similar situations. Thankfully, not in our church. Regardless of the venue, it still hurts

    I’m doing much better handling those situations now. I practice keeping in mind that it’s not about me, it’s not my fault, and I don’t have to own the reaction or mood of others. So long as I make sure I keep my side of the street clean–behave in a honorable, honest and open way, Their behavior will be judged by a power higher and greater than me.

    And, if the relationship continues non-reciprocal or troubling, I move on.

    Life’s too short to spend time with people who don’t share the same joy of friendship I do.

  9. I have been struggling with an appropriate comment to this incredible post for quite some time.

    All I can share is this: you are not alone. What you have shared here, and so eloquently, are thoughts which have been rolling around within my brain; my attempts to reconnect and understand the disconnects in the first place, ignored; wondering how to proceed and deciding, much as you have, to take the incredible depth of my emotions, my love, elsewhere… offer it to those who are willing to receive it and reciprocate likewise.

    The main thing I have concluded is that those who cannot receive, nor understand those who feel and express so deeply, who have the empathy to understand more than others wish to believe, and because of this, have experienced tremendous heart break, fear the strength and courage they see within those they shun for they have been provided a mirror of themselves and therefore have been shown the depth of strength and courage within themselves which they have not yet been able to perceive, or worse yet, acknowledge.

    It is this very fear which holds them back from embracing the beauty within those whom they separate.

    The problem isn’t you. The problem isn’t me.

    Continue to engage those who are willing to engage you, for you will find those souls who can tolerate, indeed, desire the opportunity to learn and grow via their encounters with souls like yours.

  10. Dear Cara…I have been reading this post several times. I feel like I must say something, because all of us have been hurt by somebody else and even we often hurt others (intentionally or unintentionally)…I long ago realized that if I don’t have clear what to say, I’d better be silent. But what I can say for sure is that I keep praying for you so you may find encouragement, and not one or two…but lots of people to love and feel loved by them as well. I certainly can assure you that there are huge amounts of people out there waiting to be loved by somebody who cares for them!

    • Ana,
      I am so, so glad you chose to share some of your thoughts with me. This blog is not a place in which I hope to shout from a podium and loudspeaker, forcing others to stand there and listen, drowning out their voices. I want to hear.
      I believe there is wisdom in using caution when offering others advice, perspective, and rebuking. In my youth, my tendency was to be impulsive, to give help when all that was wanted of me was a listener’s ear. I’ve since then learned to wait for others to ask. They will. I picture it like this. When you sit down to eat a meal, you need to be ready, prepared for that experience with an empty stomach. The same goes for receiving advice. First, you must be permitted to empty yourself. Only then can you begin to consume and retain what’s being served you.

      For me, though my writing may look translucent, often there is much more going on than what is intuited. My voice, I hope, is clear when coming across; I do put great effort into choosing each and every word, never wanting to fall prey to misinterpretation. Sadly, it happens despite my best efforts, and even in person, I’ve found.

      You are right; each of us have been touched by both blade and handle where hurt is concerned. It was not the hurt I was unable to move past, but the choice in which I consequently had to make was one of reconciliation with situation, then moving on in His grace when I knew that what the Lord was asking of me no longer existed in that place. I wanted to love. I wanted to share. I wanted to commune. This fell hard on apathy and complacency.

      This post generated quite a bit of feedback, and actually I’ve been thinking on it for sometime now; I would like to keep this an ongoing article, and allow others to make this journey with me. I’ve been told this was therapeutic for others suffering with something similar, past and presently, and if I may continue to be that Light, I cannot miss that opportunity because I happen to be uncomfortable and confused. Right now I am mid-point. There are many roads. I wait on the Lord.

      Thank you for your encouragement and prayers — they mean a great deal to me!
      Bless you, Ana.

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