Recently I found a shard of unforgiveness in my heart.
There was a sore spot. It hadn’t bothered me in a while. I thought I’d forgotten all about it. But all the moving and the thinking and an unfortunate exchange of angry words must have been enough to reach me where it still hurt.
It goes back to the early days of Sunday morning Bible class, when I actually went. I had a few reasons for going, but the biggest one, the most important one, was because this was my way to show my undying loyalty and love and support.
I knew it was a lot to ask of myself. But then again, I had watched my husband sludge through Greek and Hebrew just for this, for all these people. Why didn’t more people come? Why didn’t more want to hear the Word of God?
He’d worked so hard for this. It was the least I could do for him. I might not be able to listen much since the baby usually needed changed and fed and the toddler would need to go for a walk in the back. I couldn’t do much. But I could be there.
I would bleed myself dry, sometimes bleed myself wet, straight through my maternity church pants just so I could be there. I did what few others would ever attempt–I came to Sunday morning Bible class with a baby and toddler.
Somehow I even managed to get our preschooler to Sunday School.
It’s true I wanted to show my support. But I also wanted sympathy. I wanted admiration for my efforts. I wanted him to know how hard it was to get anything out of church, how physically and emotionally exhausted I was by the time church was over.
He didn’t see my love and support. He only saw what love and support had done to me.
I could only look down. I was thinking about all this today during the sermon, his last sermon as pastor here. Until he said, with tears stuck in his throat, if there’s one thing he hoped he could be remembered for, not just the congregation, but his family as well…
I looked up.
If he could choose the words for his tombstone they would be this:
HE GAVE US JESUS
He hadn’t been very good at this. He’d screwed up. He’d made a lot of mistakes. But when they think of him, when they remember him, if they wouldn’t remember the guy who was short and had an ugly beard, if they could overlook it all and remember:
HE GAVE US JESUS
I cried off and on the rest of the service as the shard came undone.
When it was time for communion, as I knelt next to my newly baptized and confirmed brother and sister on one side and our five children on the other, I waited for the pastor and the bread and the wine. He blessed our children and gave me Jesus.
Before I took and ate I reached for his palm and kissed his hand.
I’ve always wanted to do that.
Today felt like the perfect chance.