Confession: an open acknowledgment of feelings; something admitted or disclosed;
I have felt a certain “writer’s block” for the past few days, and here’s the reason: I became afraid that if I am honest, someone will be offended - which is silly. The whole reason for writing is to be honest, and let the “chips fall where they may”. So, I am re-committed to writing and to being honest. If no one reads, I will have still have done it for myself.
Recently, I have been reflecting on the aloneness which I have experienced. It began at the beginning. Like it was yesterday, I remember being in a lay-pastors’ meeting at our church; T and I were part of that group of leaders. It had not been long since we received the early diagnosis, and T shared it in this meeting as a prayer request. As I remember, silence fell on the room. An uncomfortable silence. I was dying inside with fear, worry, and needing to talk…tears always just about to spill. The meeting continued, had dessert or something like that…. and went home. Again as I remember (and my memory is pretty sharp), only two people came to us afterward and said anything. We were left to ourselves….to crawl back in our car and drive home with the same burden, the same fears and concerns, ……alone. In most groups of this kind if someone announces an illness or serious diagnosis (or maybe not so serious), people would maybe have a special prayer, anoint w/oil, lay hands on….commit to pray, ……something. It was astounding to me that there was not a more compassionate and immediate response. Couldn’t they feel and see that this was an adult man who was making himself vulnerable to them, that he was in this admission – asking for affirmation and support and love? Maybe they didn’t know what to say or how to respond, but in the role of lay pastor, don’t you need to be able to step in the chaos of another person’s life n order to minister to them? Good people, out of touch with our hurting souls.
After a while, maybe 2 ½ years, I just could not do church anymore. My feeling was that I would not go back until I could be authentic. I was crushed by the weight of my daily life and the outlook for the future (which I am now living). I’m sure people meant well when they would come by and ask how I was doing, but when I was honest, the discomfort was so apparent with most people, that I just began to fake it. Most would say something like….thinking about you! Things going ok? Smile…pat me on the arm, and head out to lunch with friends or family. I don’t think this response was just a particular congregation; it seemed to happen with all our circle of acquaintances/friends for the most part. I felt I needed to say I was doing fine, to let people off the hook and allow them to return to the comfort of their own circumstances instead of entering (with me) into my circumstance which was painful and strange, even to me.
I always wondered why some male friend of T did not desire to enter into this walk with him, to listen to his fears or concerns, to learn how he was managing his faith walk, to hold this man’s hand as he walked into the future not knowing what in the world might happen, to befriend him in a significant way as he wrestled with all the loss – the loss of profession, identity, income, control, self-image – the loss of future plans. I mean, Tuesdays with Morrie had been such a big hit on the book circuit….why not Wednesdays (or any day) with T?? A way to journal for this man and the world how it might feel to be facing his diagnosis and all that it implied. T had always been the consummate doctor – he made house calls, he saw people for free, he called in prescriptions for patients and family when they would call at home or meet him in the hall at church. He did physicals on immigrants. He was never too busy to be bothered with those who needed him. There were a few men who took T to lunch when I was working, the most faithful being Buck Rambo. T loved his time with Buck. Finally, it became a risk for them to continue to take him out for lunch and get him back home safely.(to be cont'd)