Sunday, October 7, 2012

Loving and praying

It's the first week of October, which means it's time for another Random Journal Link-up

Unfortunately I'm late to the game because we've been in technology-free zone around here. We had our carpets cleaned yesterday, so cleared out furniture Friday (including router, modem, do-hickeys, and thing-a-ma-jiggies), and put said stuff back today. We only have carpet in one room (plus the area rug in the living room) but that's exactly the room where all that jazz lives. Thus, here I am on Sunday night with two posts in my mind...

But first this one, culled from a journal in 2005. The great disadvantage of all these identically colored journals is that I can't tell if I've already picked this edition before. But it likely doesn't matter.
Monday, February 1, 2005

Dinner tonight at the home of one of Beve's students. The most disturbed student he's ever had, Beve said afterwards. It was strange and sad and heart-wrenching.  There was his mother, a sweet, dear Ukrainian woman, and there was V, a profane, disrespectful, hard boy. She'd cooked for days to show her thanks to all the adults who have worked so hard and cared so much for her troubled son. He walked into the apartment and started swearing, passed a photograph of his younger self, flipped it upside down, then closed himself in his room--where he hasn't been in a month.

So we sat at her table and ate a lavish, amazing feast. Far too much food, but very, very tasty and his mother kept bringing more, serving more, never once sitting with us because her service itself was also a thank-you. By the time she placed dessert on the table, V finally joined us and for a few moments, there was a window of the real boy inside him as he talked about the birds at the home where he's now living. Smiling, almost laughing as he talked of how these dozens of birds live IN the house and fly all over the place.  But then he had to leave--before he wanted to--and the window slammed shut behind iron bars of angry profanity again. It was scary. He didn't care who was in the room, who he had to beat his head against. When he finally gave in and left, I was actually surprised--I'd never imagined that acquiescence was possible.

No wonder his mother's constantly on the verge of tears. What kind of fear is that of a mother?

Beve says this boy's career goal is to be a sniper. And that students cheered when he was removed from a class, and that he painted his face and yelled obscenities in a courtroom.
I wonder what will happen to him. Will we hear his name on the 6 o'clock news?

But tonight, just as Beve was about to drift off to sleep, he said that something about this boy reminds him of [my brother] A.  I shudder now, while Beve's already into the deep REM cycle. I have often wondered if I'll read about him in the paper--still--or hear his name in the news.
And I've never known how to pray for my brother. So most of the time--ninety-nine% of the time, I don't even try. I shouldn't admit this. But it's true. It's just too hard. No, that's not quite it. It's that I don't actually believe that anything will change. If I'm honest, I actually think A's beyond change. Beyond hope. That's where I have to start.

Forgive me.
Why do I think I'm worth more than A? No, it isn't that I think I'm worth more, or even that A isn't worth enough to save. I absolutely believe he's worth enough. And that he's loved, fully and completely, by God, the TRIUNE! What is lacking is not God's love for A, but my love for him.

Generally speaking, this could be the lack in most, even all, of my prayers for others. My lack of belief is predicated on my lack of love for the person I'm praying for, more than a lack of faith in God. Of course I have real faith issues--who doesn't?--But those are different than this. To be clear, let me put it this way: I list the names of those people I feel least certain God will change, it would correspond pretty closely with a list of those I have most trouble loving.

Resurrection power, the power, the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is mine--available via the Holy Spirit to love through me, create love in me, believe and be faithful to pray. That power to love. I ask for that tonight, Lord. As I sleep, be awake and working through the watches to love more than I can, to put to death the Carolyn who cannot love and does not pray.
LOVE in me.
LIVE in me.

A note--the brother I write about in this post died three years after it was written, un-reconciled to our family. However, by the time I preached his memorial service, there was no question that God loved him through me.


Anonymous said...

I came by from random journal day. A powerful post and message, thank you. Sometimes it is hard to reach people to connect to help when you can see they are having difficulties. Sometimes prayer is all you can do. However I can understand when you said it was hard to pray. You are right God helps us to love others but It can still be hard. I am sorry you lost your brother. God Bless.

Modern Day Disciple said...

My friend, dear Carolyn! Please first can you send me an e-mail so I can correspond! I was wondering where you were this month, and missed your beautiful prose. I confess I could not remember the name of your blog complete. Just words! lol. Sorry. I just am like I want to send a reminder, but where will I send it? I also think sometimes I have missed you in the blog feeds. So NOW I will remember! But I have a question for you via e-mail! Now about this post. How I love your journals, and have wondered recently if I might not identically start repeating the journals as it seems so many have been shared. But yours looking the same makes it harder for sure. I have been struggling with the same question of faith in many ways.

"To be clear, let me put it this way: I list the names of those people I feel least certain God will change, it would correspond pretty closely with a list of those I have most trouble loving."
Just wow on this sentence and also I have realized that lately I doubt my God. That our Great God can change the heart of those who resist Him. It's like a great Christian callous has grown on my heart. Despite all I have seen and experienced. Besides Him changing this resistant heart. Thank you for sharing again. You bless me! Here is my e-mail. when you can, just shoot me yours! Thank you, my friend. PS - I am sorry for the loss of your brother. That must have been difficult. But thank you as always for your beautiful authentic sharing here.

Kel Rohlf said...

my heart goes out to you and your family's loss...thank you for sharing the truth that surfaced in your journal...i came over from random journal day...i wish i could be that honest in my journals...your sharing hit a cord...why don't I believe certain people will change...why are they so difficult to I difficult to love...what change am I resisting...