Too Timid to Talk

Dearest Rachel –

This past Sunday was a bit unusual for me, and yet, at the end of the day, it really didn’t make all that much difference.

I mentioned that Daniel wasn’t with me, you might recall. He’d gone with Kerstin to the Saturday service (and met the folks there as well, who were there for their own reasons) so that the two of them could go to another church that she attends on Sunday. Nothing wrong with that; she’s told me (and I agree) that he needs to get out more, and it would seem she’s taken that responsibility upon herself from time to time. I really need to thank her for that more often.

This left me at liberty to go whenever I wanted, and once there, to sit wherever I wanted. We’ve been relegated to the corner of the auditorium, as you know, because of Daniel’s… enthusiastic worship style. He moves like one of those inflatable figures you’ll see from time to time in front of used car lots.

Like so. I’ve just learned they have a number of different names: Tube men, skydancers, air dancers. Apparently, the original (trademarked?) name is Tall Boy, which, let’s face it, describes Daniel to a ‘T.’

Now, once upon a time, his enthusiasm offended certain people back in the day, which I think was the original reason we were confined to the far side from the center that we used to seat ourselves in. That’s long since changed, of course, and he gets plenty of compliments from worship team members and congregation alike for the way he gets so into his praise. However, as he is without doubt a Tall Boy™, we are still relegated to the side so that he does not interfere with the line of vision for people behind us. Which is more than a fair request. There’s a picture in the flagship campus of a worship service from a few years back, and if you look closely, you can see yourself and Daniel (mostly Daniel, of course) in front, hands up, into the words and the moment, amongst the crowd.

Speaking of being ‘in the moment,’ that was what Sunday’s message was about. Now that we’ve celebrated Resurrection Sunday, there remains the fact that his disciples (and by extension, we ourselves) hadn’t grasped what had happened, why it had happened, and what else had to happen after the events of Good Friday. Cleopas and his companion were already speaking of Jesus in the past tense (which, given Friday’s events, would seem perfectly reasonable from a human standpoint)… but they were doing so to Jesus Himself (albeit unwittingly)!

There are some times, I’ll admit, when I think that Jesus didn’t quite divest Himself of everything He needed in order to understand humanity while He was among us. Reading the ‘road to Emmaus’ passage from our historical standpoint (and bearing in mind that He was the one they were talking about like he was still dead), we understand why He would berate them for having so little faith or understanding. But this, like several other such moments, seem to indicate how He can’t quite grasp the human tendency for hopelessness in a given situation – because, unlike Him, we can’t see past the next turn (not to mention, we can’t control a given situation like He can). A storm you’re in the middle of is not going to disappear just like that. Somebody dies, and they’re not going to reconstitute from the ashes. Life just doesn’t work that way. And He, being able to undo any crisis He sees fit to, is all ‘you people just don’t get it, do you?’ No, Lord, we don’t, and we wish You would understand why we don’t. We can’t change things like You can.

But that’s straying from the point.

Junior’s point is that we need to figure out what God’s plan is with our life in the here and now – and work with Him on that – rather than dwelling so much on the past. He mentioned a banner he has in his house reading “These are the good old days,” as a reminder to enjoy and appreciate the present rather than dwelling so much on the past. Which is all good and well when he talks about old pictures of his daughters and compares those little babies to the smart little girls he has now. They are growing up and getting stronger, smarter and more independent with each passing day, and I’m sure it’s something for a father to be pleased about.

I’m not sure how to apply that to my situation, as you and I don’t have a future on this side of the veil anymore. I’m kind of stuck between the ‘was’ and the ‘will be,’ where the interim period leaves me wondering where to go from here. I’ve still got my responsibilities with Daniel, my folks, and the church community at large, but from a personal standpoint? I can’t even get started again.

By way of example, while waiting for the service to start yesterday, Cheryl came up to me. I asked her about her relocation, which Jan had worked with her on. She seems happy in her new location – and glad that the process is over with. Jan also showed up and joined in on the conversation, adding bits here and there.

Deep inside, I wanted to ask her about her niece, and the messages she’d sent me that I’d never been able to read. But somehow, I could tell that the time wasn’t right to do so, and let it go.

Similarly, during the service, I found myself able to sit in the middle section, like we used to do so long ago. As the auditorium began to fill, I found myself surrounded by single women – in front of me, across the aisle (singing operatically but less than in tune – look, the psalms talk about making a joyful noise to the Lord, so that’s okay) and next to me. I didn’t dare look at the one next to me, lest I be caught staring, but I could see her swiveling her hips to the music out of the corner of my eye.

You’d think that, at the end of the service, when Jordan dismisses us with the admonition to say hello to people we didn’t know, I’d find an opening to talk to one or another of them, wouldn’t you? I couldn’t strike up a conversation with any of them. Instead, I found myself talking to a couple that have been coming only for the past three or four years, and might very well not have known you. Although I understand that she works in the nursery these days, I suspect she didn’t back when you were working there, as neither of them seemed to recognize me as your husband. I thanked her for filling that role – I couldn’t bring myself to refer to filling your shoes.

I know that church is a good way to find people – friends, and more than friends – who share one’s own faith, but I just can’t bring myself to start that conversation. It’s like I can see Jesus with the moneychangers, except instead of being mad about His Father’s house being turned into a den of robbers, He’s upset about my even thinking about using it as a dating service.

And so, I hold my peace; Sunday and every day.

And wait for what will be.

Take care, honey. Wish me luck, and maybe give me a nudge – I’m pretty sure I need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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