While folding laundry today, events from the past couple of months coalesced into a cohesive thought or decision, much like my bread, water, sugar, salt, and yeast turn into a ball of dough after some kneading. Who knows what will happen to my thoughts after they "rise" and then "bake". Please bear with me as I try to explain. This may seem random at first. :)
Several months ago, I was abruptly released from a ministry I was serving with. There was no follow-up. No one even said goodbye. I felt rejected. During the turmoil of the last several months, I have determined to live with as much integrity as I possibly can. This has not been an easy task especially since it meant keeping my mouth shut much more than comes naturally to me. Over the Christmas break, I began thinking of removing some of this ministry's leadership from my facebook friends list. One of the things this adventure has impressed on me is to respectfully let people know why I'm removing them from my friend's list. It doesn't seem as harsh. Harder on me, nicer to them. Anyway, after letting this person know that I was removing them as I had not heard from them since that fateful Tuesday, I got a message back about how much I had been in her prayers and that she had really wanted to talk to me. This confirmed something that had been on my mind for awhile, something rather obvious: Silence doesn't convey anything positive. Silence doesn't say "I love you". Silence doesn't say" I care". Most often, silence conveys rejection or disinterest. How often am I silent just because I don't want to hurt or offend accidentally? How often am I silent because I don't know what to say?
The Apostle Paul wrote a lot of things that many people find controversial and hard to follow. For me, one of those has been the part about being a "fool for Christ". I struggle with that. I want people to find me wise, to be dazzled by my insight. I don't want to be a fool. Standing up in Tim Horton's and shouting "Jesus is Lord" really doesn't resonate with me. Neither does dressing all in lime green(oh wait, that's being a camp counsellor) or giving away all of my possessions. But what if that isn't want being a fool is all about? I mean, maybe somebody is called to do that, but that certainly isn't speaking to me. What if this being a fool means inviting rejection? Not by being a freak, but by being brave.
And here's where those two thoughts began to mesh. What if instead of being silent, I spoke? I called someone who seemed a little bit withdrawn to make sure they were okay? I wrote a note, an email, a letter to someone just to say that I cared? What if I handed someone my contact info and said "hey, if you need to talk, i'm here". What if I appear on my neighbour's doorstep and invite her to tea? All of these scare the pants off of me. I did one today and am thinking really hard about doing one tomorrow. This is inviting rejection. Any time I step out of my comfort zone, out of those known relational paths, I could get hurt. Someone could get mad at me. It's happened before. Or God could be glorified. Someone who was hurting might know that they aren't alone. That people love them.
To be very honest, I don't want to be hurt anymore. I'm emotionally tired. But neither do I want to live my life isolated, impacting no one but myself. I am so thankful for today's realizations, so thankful for the opportunity to reach out to those around me. Perhaps I will refuse to be silent. I will communicate my feelings and let people know that I care. Quite possibly I'll misread situations a time or two and annoy someone. But maybe just maybe I'll help one person feel a little less alone and rejected. And that would be worth being thought a fool. :)