Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Trips and Unexpected Interruptions

Due to my lack of consistent wifi on my recent trip to Buffalo, the blogging has lagged. I caught a neighbor's signal for a little while last week, but it faded and I lost a whole rant. It was pretty scathing, so I think it's just as well lost in cyberspace.

Last week's trip back the hometown was rough on a lot of levels. I really don't have family there anymore, so I stayed with my best friend from high school. She's going through a huge life transition, as she just discovered her pregnancy (about 6 months in), is dealing with this alongside a boyfriend who is pretty supportive, but having to navigate sharing their house with her boyfriend's brother. Let's just say he's more than a little tough to get along with. My vacation wasn't much of a break after all--I think my working/ministry/school/friend juggling is more peaceful than staying in that unsettled household for a week. I loved on and prayed for them all the while, but it was still a struggle. BUT, it made me so, so thankful for all that exists for me here in Boston: work that pays way more than I need, a true fellowship of believers in community, a living situation that is pleasant to come home to, etc, etc. Flying in last Friday night was so very sweet. Everytime I see the skyline again my heart gets so full. Sometimes being here is difficult, but I have a passionate love for this city. Boston to me is like New York to Carrie Bradshaw, but for reasons much broader and deeper than hers.

One of my gracious readers made note that I never directly blogged about what happened at Cafe Rossini a few weeks back, so here's the scoop:

Stacey stayed over Saturday night and we decided to head over to Rossini for some good coffee and muffins before we had community cleanup Sunday afternoon. I'd been in the place a couple times before since it's just on the other side of the yoga place, about a block from my apartment. Stacey brought her bible & journal while I had most of the Sunday Globe with me.

The owner at Rossini is a soup nazi-type who barks orders at her help. She's been in there every time I've stopped in. We've chatted briefly before, but nothing more than pleasantries and to complement her baked goods. She seems to enjoy talking to all her customers and sometimes butting in on interesting conversations.

That's exactly what happened when Stacey and I were there. We both didn't pay much attention to our reading, but talked about the chapter in Acts I was going to teach that night, along with other issues of life as a believer, including how to deal with the sexual sin of those around us. We were starting to wind up our time and began reading an article about the misspending scandal at Oral Roberts University. I mentioned it to Stacey and the cafe owner jumped right in. She talked about the tragedy of all these preachers getting caught doing so many wrong things, her own experience with ministers that live a double life, her admiration for Billy Graham (her mom took her to some Crusades when she was a kid that she said deeply impacted her), how her brother who claims to be a believer hasn't spoken to her in 20 years, how she used to study the Bible, how her longtime friend ended their friendship due to her acceptance of her friend's gay son. It went on and on. A fountain of years of hurt and frustration with the church, both Catholic and Protestant, spouted from this woman in the span of 10 minutes. I was pretty dumbfounded, as was Stacey. We just let her keep talking. The vulnerability of such a hard-headed stranger was bizarre to me. Unfortuately, we had to go, but were able to end the conversation on a good note.

I vowed to become more of a regular, but I haven't. I can blame schedule chaos and vacation, but something else is in play. Knowing her would be hard. She's not on her knees begging for Christ. She's angry. She's hurt. I represent the church that has betrayed her. I doubt myself--how can I possibly be the light that shows her the truth of the Gospel beyond all the muddying created by human hands? That's a huge responsibility. But I know that's what He's calling me to do.

Just writing this out has reminded me about those moments and granted me clarity about Christ's mission for my week in Buffalo--He was teaching me about loving those with His love that I find are hard to love. Wow. Talk about a shift in perspective.

Susan, thanks for reminding me to write about this. You are the accountability I didn't even know I needed.

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