I'm not sure where to start, so I'll just start and apologize in advance if this is rambly. I promise it will be shorter than my last couple of posts.
First - sorry for going private without any indication or warning. You'll see I haven't blogged in between, I just needed a break. I wasn't sure I would blog again, for lots of reasons, but obviously I have decided to do so. I guess I still have something to say (and anyone who's ever met me in person just laughed because, duh!).
And so I move forward.
There will be some changes - comment moderation is turned on, and anonymous comments are turned off. I don't see that changing anytime soon. I also encourage you that if reading here is too difficult for you or causing you distress or pain (for any reason), to not do so. I have always said that we must guard and protect our own hearts first, and I stand by that still. Regardless, my prayers are with you.
I struggled with the number of anonymous comments, and I realized it was because I had no idea how to respond - I had no context for the relationship, no history to work from, no way of knowing if you were someone who'd never read a word I'd written before or had been here from the start. I realized just how important the relationships that exist around this blog were to me.
I have also really struggled with the fact that my post "Mercy and Grace" has received over 8000 page views. That is more than nearly all of my other posts combined. I know it was shared in FB groups and on other blogs, and quite honestly, I find that hard to swallow. No other post that I wrote was shared like that, with desperate cries and calls for prayers, and yet for years I shared some of the hardest days of my life here, desperate for prayers and needing the support of the Body of Christ. Yes, I know so many of you prayed, but to share the post that I admitted my sins and not the ones where I shared my heartbreak, I just didn't - and still don't - know how to wrap my head around that. For yes, we are called to admonish and pray for the sinner, I do not dispute that, but are we not also called to comfort the afflicted, to weep with those who mourn, to pray for those who hurt? Neither necessarily being more important than the other - except I will say this - had my blog been shared and hundreds of anonymous comments coming in expressing prayers and love for the years prior, I would certainly have been more open and willing to endure the admonishing that followed.
I know a lot of you have issues with my current state, I've said it before and I'll say it again - I do too. I do not endorse nor encourage sin, and I am willing to call my own sins what they are. My intention is not to cause scandal, and quite frankly it's why I've been so honest. However, there is still a journey here, one that I hope leads me to heaven some day, and if the only time we can support and be gracious to one another is when all of the rules are being followed, well then I missed something somewhere along the lines. If all you have to say to me is that I'm sinning and that I need to stop - I say thank you, truly and sincerely with a grateful heart. I know. I'm working on it daily. And now, I sincerely ask you to realize you've said it once (or twice or more) and to stop. There is a difference between admonishing the sinner and kicking the sinner. I'm tired of being kicked and I'm politely asking you to stop. After my last two posts I understood in such a profound way why people leave the Church. I sobbed at Mass on Palm Sunday as I faced the fact that had I dared to darken the doorstep of many of your parishes, rather than being welcomed and loved, I would have been glared at and shunned. It was the words of a dear friend who showed me what it truly means to "hate the sin and love the sinner" when she said "I do not approve of your current state. I will miss you at the Eucharistic table my dear sister in Christ, and I will save your seat for when you are able to join us again." I knew that had I walked into her parish, she would have greeted me with a hug, we'd have shared tears, and then we'd have sat side by side for the Sacrifice of the Mass. That, my friends, is what it means to "hate the sin and love the sinner" - that is what it means to express truth in love. And that is what gave me the courage to attend Mass on Palm Sunday, and nearly every day since.
If reading here is an occasion of sin for you, causes you to want to emulate what I've done, or brings too much distress to your life, then please stop. I understand. I understand in ways I cannot articulate how my sin has hurt and continues to hurt the Body of Christ, and for that, to each and every single one of you, I say I am sorry. You will never know how sorry.
For now, it's time for me to live my life. Live its joys and sorrows; its triumphs and failures. For me, that includes this blog and other aspects of social media, as it is 2015. If we are FB/Tw.i.tter/Ins.ta.gra.m friends and you need to unfollow/unfriend me or the blog, I understand. If we aren't and you'd like to be, I'd love to connect.
To those who have reached out, whether to offer prayers, ask how I am or just check in. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Not because you agreed with my choices or anything like that, but because you have shown me what it means to do the hard work of relationships in this fallen world. You've humbled me because I know I haven't always done it right, and you've brought much depth to my prayer life and conversations about what choices to make going forward.
To those who continue to walk along this road with me, thank you, I look forward to continuing to journey together. To those who need to send me on my way, thank you for the steps you have taken with me.