On Wednesday, our church provided beautiful space for people to step away from their over-scheduled lives. Our chapel floor was turned into a prayer labyrinth. The only light was from candles. The music was played by two guitars and a violin with the accompanying voices chanting songs from Taize. It was a powerful experience.
But yesterday, I got an email that opened the door even more for the Spirit of God to burst through.
Facebook has enabled me to reconnect with all kinds of people - people I have not talked with in nearly two decades, in fact. It is amazing to me how all kinds of people pop up around me through this mechanism and how I can miss people who I literally have not thought about in more than ten years.
Yesterday, I received an email from a childhood friend. Jen and I went to the same church and same elementary school. We sang in the choir together. We then went to separate high schools and I am not sure that I have spoken with her in 20 years. The message came through Facebook. She told me she had something important to talk with me about. I wrote back and said I could hardly wait to find out what is on her mind. She then wrote:
Sooooo, what I REALLY wanted to talk to you about it this!
Our pastor always encourages us to give and receive forgiveness as a top priority, as any of those two left undone interferes with our worship. Of course, you know all of this...but, after a sermon, a while back, I searched my heart....seeking to determine if there was any forgiveness that I needed to seek or offer. And, I found some.
That's were you come in.
I feel as though I need to ask for your forgiveness.
I am hoping and fairly certain that you may not even know WHY. But, I'd like to clear my conscience. When I searched my heart, I found you.
In elementary school, when we still used the lower playground, you were hanging upside down on the dome-shaped jungle gym. Some kids were teasing you as you were hanging there. I'm afraid I was one of them. I don't remember the details, and I hope you don't either. But, no matter what really happened, I realized that I didn't help you. I didn't stick up for you. And, for ALL of these years, I really regret it. We went to church together. We were in choir together. And when we were at school, I didn't defend you or help you to stop them. I wasn't the instigator, but, I certainly didn't act appropriately.
So, please, Donna, forgive me for not being a better 'sister.' I always felt so much guilt about that incident, that I never got closer to you, because I KNEW in the back of your mind you would remember that day on the playground.
Quite an email to receive, huh? After twenty years, I received this email. And, while I remember elementary school as a very painful experience of finding my way through life as the heaviest kid in the class, I do not remember this specific incident. I remember so many days of literally hating to go on the playground, but I do not remember Jen's specific role in this.
But, Jen's email has prompted me to search my heart. Who is it that I need to seek forgiveness from? How is it that I need to make more space in my heart for others? What, from the past, is taking up too much space because it is too heavy?
What about you, who do you need to forgive or seek forgiveness from?
Prepare the way of the Lord. Prepare the way of the Lord.