I had our team pray for me last week, as we process the year behind us, and I recognize my failure to make people feel as loved and affirmed as I would like. My analogy was the poisoned ice cream I distributed last month: I was trying to bless our team and ended up sending everyone into spasms of deathly diarrhea! In the same way I have come to face my relational poison ice cream, words that are not well-chosen, or interactions that are too rushed, that communicate pain. I have grieved that, and struggle how to be Jesus-like in speaking the truth in love, with everyone from my own kids to the nurse who did not show up for work on Saturday. I thought about staying home from church yesterday, but went on faith that God meets us in the community of believers.
The second reading was from Romans 8: who can bring any charge? There is therefore now no condemnation. . . . Once again the words brought me up short, because I've been feeling a LOT of condemnation. Grace, a nice word, a pleasant concept to talk about, when you don't feel like you need it. But the whole point of grace is that I DO need it. Making mistakes, speaking too quickly, failing to love, missing choir concerts, saying goodbyes, looking ahead to a year with huge question marks, in all of these things God's grace covers me, and all of us here.