Sunday, December 11, 2011

Magnifying glasses

My sister,  RE, called this morning. Last night she and her husband went to some fancy dinner with a bunch of local big-wigs in the farming community.  In my hometown a boy man who graduated from high school with Beve and me has become become just about the biggest-wig of all in those parts. He's practically a dynasty, all by himself. And I have to say, I'd never have guessed it. If I had to pick him out of a line-up of boys from our class I'd never pick him to be the successful wheat baron he's become. Just goes to show how off our nose for success can be sometimes. Anyway, last night his company put on the feedbag for the local farmers.

So my sister's text this morning was, "You'll never guess who I had dinner with last night." Beve and I both gave it a pretty good shot, though Beve had to throw in a couple his favorite kind of guesses. Today's included Barack Obama and Michelle Bachman (one of which I'd enjoy dinner with, the other whom I wouldn't--I'll leave you to guess which I mean).  Of course, even our more reasonable, possible guesses were off/ Instead two old friends, also from our high school graduating class, sat at their table.  One was a man who inched his way next to RE in the buffet line to make sure she gave Beve his greetings. They were pretty good friends back in middle school before he went one direction and Beve went a different. He bears a pretty distinctive name in our home town--the basketball court at WSU is named for his grandfather.  These days he's CEO for our old high school buddy/wheat baron.  His 'date' for the evening was PH.  PH. I was maid of honor at her wedding. She was matron of honor in mine. Back then, and for many years before, we were very close friends. And if I'd been a betting person, I'd have wagered she'd be the one person I'd be seeing the rest of my life.

Such has not been the case.  In fact, I haven't seen her since SK was a baby. 22 years ago.  Since then, that marriage I'd stood beside her and witnessed caused her a lifetime of heartache. And she didn't feel she could even tell me about it. Beve and I were at a basketball camp in Olds, Alberta, Canada when a mutual friend asked me how she was holding up since her divorce.  I immediately wrote her.  And her letter back broke my heart.

She hadn't felt she could tell me about her divorce because she felt intimidated by what she perceived as my 'perfect' life, my easy marriage and strong Christian faith. She was certain I would be more judgmental than compassionate about her life, and even if I wasn't, my very life felt like a judgment to her.

These are the moments when I'm reminded of how small the world is in which I was raised.  There are people who have always found it odd that Beve and I married.  They knew one or the other of us, or niether of us, or merely thought they did, and those things didn't match.  Beve was a single-minded, uncomplicated boy who cared about two things--basketball and Jesus.  I'm not sure what I was.  But I do know I didn't have my name in the paper every weekend, and was certainly never called, "Mr. (or Ms.) Everything."  But the truth is, Beve wasn't a jock.  And I've always said that if we'd ever had a single real conversation back then, we'd have realized how much our hearts, humor, and everything else aligned.

But our lives are not perfect.  PH was wrong about that.  Very far from it.  There are heartaches aplenty.  We squabble like siblings about minor things like why he always leave the condiments on the counter and why I throw away the papers he wanted to keep.  And we have fought about finances, how to handle this situation with a kid or that one. I'm rather feisty, he's rather stubborn, and we fight.  We're just plain, ordinary people, who have lived together for a long time and are used to each other's foibles, flaws and quirks.

And we've seen a whole lot of marriages fall apart over the long years of our life together.  In our early years, I think it is true that we both fell pretty strongly on the judgment side of things.  In this and most areas. I feel badly about that now.  The longer I walk with Christ, the less I'm willing to stand in that place.  I can list with the best of conservative Christians all the scripture about all kinds of things we should not do.  But somewhere on that list I must put myself as well.  We all fall short of the glory of God. What Jesus Christ did, when He preached the Kingdom, when He died to save us from those things that condemn us, is love us. And call us to love each other.  This is clear. Over-riding every other thing.

I was just thinking the other day that the magnifying lens of that gospel must always be turned on myself and away from others. You know what I mean?  You know how one side of a magnifying glass makes things look closer and the other the opposite?  Well, I must peer very closely at my own life, and hold myself to His standard in everything I do.  And hold others lightly. Leave them to God.  Love them to Him.

I have always felt very sad that PH felt my life--my very life--condemned her.  And I pray that she has moved past that now. And I'm glad to hear--via RE--that she's finally content after all the difficult years.  I pray that I have a chance to tell her to her face one of these days that I'm glad.

Ok, so that was a long, stream-of-consciousness post. Tomorrow, back to the prophesies.

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