1.02.2018

Blog Jump Start: Week 3


This week's topic for the Blog Jump Start, hosted by Donna at What if God Says No, is: Draft Folder Clean Up. We all have those unfinished post that hide out in our draft folder, on scrap pieces of paper, or in Word documents. Finish one up, now.

I have 107 posts categorized as "drafts" in my blogger dashboard. Not all of them really qualify as drafts of the pre-published, just need a few edits or finished type. Many of them are more private posts that are more like personal journal entries that were never intended to be public. I hadn't given much thought to what to do with them other than just leave them where they are  until going through the draft category. I realized that I think I need to copy/paste them into another format so that I still have them, but that they aren't sitting in a draft category. I'll have to do that and report back with how many actual drafts I had sitting there. It would actually be helpful to do this before week 6 of the jump start rolls around, it was a bit challenging to weed through it all.

For today I want to revisit a draft I have intended to finish but just haven't taken the time to do. As it sits before this writing it is titled "Welcome in My Home"and the text includes only: my uncle's words - God the father - always welcome in his home

I know, you are jealous of my way with words.

Ahem.

So, what was I meaning? About what was I writing the simplest outline? I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was shortly after Christmas 2015 when R, Sugarbeet and I had spent Christmas Day at my uncle's home. An usual place for me to be spending Christmas Day - at my dad's brother's house. Since my freshman year of college (the second Christmas after my dad's mother died) Christmas day had not been spent with my extended family on my dad's side (as it had all the years prior) and was instead celebrated at my dad's house with him, my stepmom, my little brother, and my stepmom's parents - technically my step-grandparents I suppose, but I only have ever referred to them as Mr. And Mrs. {last name} so calling them 'grandparents' of any sort seems odd. I digress. Anyway, Christmas 2015 - not at my dad's but at my uncle's.

Why? Well, because at that point, my stepmom had decided I was not welcome in their home and my dad had agreed to that. I could write a whole other post about this - and perhaps I will, but for now, that's the very short version. I was not welcome in their home.

My heart was essentially broken. My dad missing Sugarbeet's first Christmas (and what would turn out to be the only Christmas for which he would be alive) was a heavy cross to bear, and the reasons for it an even more bitter pill to swallow.

And so, as we arrived at my uncle's home and greeted one another and he asked if we would be seeing my dad (he had been invited, as well, as he was every year) the tears threatened to spill out of my eyes. I, somehow without crying or letting on how hurt and angry I was, pulled together that we wouldn't be seeing them and that we were not invited to their home at all.

My uncle then hugged me close and whispered in my ear "you are always welcome in my home."

The tears escaped a bit then and I told him he would probably never know how much those words meant to me.

As I considered the day later, I realized just how much I had been clinging to that sentiment from God. That no matter what, I was always welcome in His home. Specifically, welcome in His Church.

That was something with which I struggled mightily - the feeling of not feeling welcome in my own faith family. As I watched person after person remove themselves from my life and took note of my blog being taken off of blog roll after blog roll, it became very hard to distinguish the Church herself from the people within the Church. Added to that a very real fear of meeting new people at church and not even knowing where to begin in answering general 'getting to know you' types of questions.

Through my uncle's words I was reminded that no matter the voices of other humans, I was and am always welcome in His home. Just like my home where there are house rules (for example, a current rule is: we don't throw wise men, we throw balls), and I expect those who enter to follow those rules or there are consequences (for example, if you insist on throwing wise men, I will remove the wise men from your reach and offer you a ball to throw or an opportunity to do something else), so too are there rules and consequences in God's house. For a time, a {freely accepted} consequence was that I abstained from receiving Eucharist when attending Mass. I was still welcomed with open arms at Mass (and still had an obligation to attend), but because of my choices I was asked to abstain from Eucharist. As time moved on, my heart was pierced and softened, I accepted a different consequence of abstaining from physical intimacy and I was invited to return to the sacraments of penance and Eucharist. In either case, which ever actions and consequences I chose to do and accept I was and am always welcome in God's home here on earth - the church.

It was knowing this and being reminded of it through my uncle's words, and in other ways, that kept me steadfast in my prayer life and Mass attendance. A good dose of stubbornness helped, too. It was through that continued prayer life and participation in the Mass that ultimately led me to the sanctuary of the confessional and the Eucharistic table.

That Christmas Day, my uncle spoke God's words to my wounded heart. He provided a day of family and memories that my own father would not and he also provided an example of the unfailing love of God. He didn't say he approved of my choices. He didn't roll out the red carpet and celebrate my sins. He provided unconditional love and a place to allow the wounds caused by my sins to continue to heal.

6 comments:

  1. Wow! My heart aches for you. We all screw up, and sometimes others don't know how to deal with it. But, the love and welcome-ness that your uncle displayed is just a little glimmer of Christ's love for us. What a great example to us all!

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  2. Sigh. I weep for the Body of Christ that in the name of Jesus, we judge and don't love. I haven't experienced the rejection to to extent you have, but every so often it sneaks up on me and when I admit that I am divorced, I get the turn away and removal from my presence of someone I thought I was becoming friends with. I try to remember that it is their problem, not mine, but the sting is still there. I also ache for your memory of that Christmas and praise God for your uncle.

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  3. Beautiful reflection; so glad you found it in your draft folder and shared!!

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  4. Your uncle is a gem! He had the courage to love when others did not. Thank you for sharing this post.

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  5. This is a great analogy and certainly a great reminder to all of us that God never shuts us out, rather, we shut him (and others) out. So glad you finished this post.

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  6. Beautiful. I will be writing one of these myself one of these days. The love of an earthly father is not mine in this life.

    And sugarbeet throwing wisemen cracked me up.

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