I was simply sitting at church on Father’s Day.
It should be one of the loveliest days of the year. Having four gorgeous daughters….who have gorgeous hearts…..and well trained minds……and who are loving and kind and giving and beautiful messes….just like they should be after a life with two imperfect people…… THIS should be an amazing day of growing more together and more in love through the grace and mercy of Christ.
But it isn’t…..and I am finding that it hasn’t been for far longer than I EVER expected.
But I was simply trying to set aside the memories that come crowding around on this day.
I was with my best friend who had given me one of the loveliest days EVER at her house the night before……and a whole church of people who have stood with me…….just trying to be there and trying to concentrate on the memories of a Costa Rican mission trip that was to be discussed and sunshine after a week of grey rain as well as people with adorable babies. I was simply trying to numb the memories of five years ago…….
And my Bishop had none of that.
He walked up and looked me in the eyes and remembered with me. He spoke words of blessing and remembrance and suddenly….the numb was gone and a flood of emotions brimmed up, and I felt a wash of release and relief and grief and sorrow as he spoke and blessed me and looked right into that place of my deep, deep pain and didn’t turn away.
He was there on that day five years ago…..at church….the morning after the revelation from hell. He was there trying to hold a flock together as reporters came and camped in his parking lot. He was there as they interviewed parishioners. He was there as my friend made a statement to the cameras. He was there grieving for me and making plans to come and help me. Communion was brought to me after the service……people were being called and lawyers were being sought out……others were making plans to help me have time away at the beach and at a guest house. Still others began thinking through what would happen in my life even as I sat in my house answering the door to a DCF officer and policemen who had come to interview my children and me.
My Bishop and his wife were making plans to help and my friend from Global Teams was making plans and my friends from school were making plans…….plans to come in and walk with me in any way needed: standing in my driveway to keep reporters away, buying no trespassing signs, bringing meals, finding a lawyer, sitting with me as I cried and cried and cried after the door had been shut on the police officer and DCF representative. Patiently telling me there would be more so I could prepare my heart for all that was to come…….finding a way to make space in a relationship that felt like the very weight of it would break my neck and rip out my heart.
I remember this day, and I feel it now.
I couldn’t feel a single thing then….my heart had to be put away……tears would come automatically as if to keep my heart from exploding….but I couldn’t properly feel them. I couldn’t feel anything except a panic and fear and lostness that was threatening to engulf my very soul.
I remember sleeping and dreaming…..life would be either a nightmare or a fond remembrance of what I had thought was real life…..and then I would wake. There is no dread quite as thick as the dread you feel upon waking and finding your life was a lie and is instead a nightmare. There is no terror more complete than that of finding everything you held dear to be a lie.
I sat in my pew at church and began to feel all that day held….and his eyes and blessing were an immeasurable comfort. He knows loss….this man knows grief and betrayal and loss and pain…..and yet he would stand there and be willing to fully walk in mine with me. IT was a gift that I simply can never repay. And during the sermon….he told the congregation that someone translated the words of God at Christ’s baptism as “This is my precious child….whom I love dearly.” And later after the service, sought me out again and told me that was straight from God to me.
I CANNOT tell you how meaningful that was…..how much healing that holds for me that my Father on Father’s Day would send my Bishop to speak those words straight into this feeling heart that is falling apart still and yet is healing and can only be healed by words like this.
I am His Beloved Child……His precious child……in whom He is well pleased….whom He loves dearly.