I don’t know who you are, but I read your blog post and felt a connection. “What happens when we stay silent?”, you contemplated. That is the tippy top of a huge iceberg, my friend. While this iceberg is too complex and rutty for me to fully understand, one thing I do know is that when we stay silent we build a community of isolation instead of freedom.
I know this, my friend (can I call you friend though I don’t know you? I feel like it might be ok to be myself with you and I think I’d like having a friend like you) because I have lived it. AM living it.
I have a confession — I haven’t been to church for nine months. Gasp now. No, my friend, not you. I have a feeling you won’t be shocked. I meant everyone else. Everyone else can gasp now.
9 months. Of silence. Of trying to figure me out. Of hearing with my ears I am welcome but not actually feeling it deep in my soul. And so a community is formed. A community of isolation. A community of … 1?
I said I haven’t been to church for 9 months but that isn’t quite true. I went to the Good Friday service. My soul was seeking something that my mind couldn’t put words to. But when I arrived I was disappointed. I didn’t understand why. Something felt off.
And then Roland talked. One thing he talked about was brokenness. I realized then that what my soul longed for was a place to be broken, but not isolated. You see, my journey over the past 9 months (and beyond) has been one of brokenness. I realized in that moment that I had been broken alone — and now what I really wanted was to be broken but with others.
Somewhere in me I felt – I hoped – that the Good Friday service would be a place where I could be both broken and in community. I wanted to experience the freedom of brokenness (I do know that out of brokenness eventually comes Easter. I am just not there yet).
But when I arrived, I walked into a building of happy people. Of chatter and laughter. Of children running around with smiling faces.
Don’t get me wrong – I love all of that. Most days.
But that day, I wanted to be with “my people”. The ones who were broken. If not broken themselves, at least broken on behalf of the One who walked the road to the cross for them.
And in the middle of smiles and chatter, I didn’t feel the freedom to be broken. I realized I had two choices – I could either pick up a mask and enter into community or I could remain broken alone. I didn’t have the energy to put on a mask. So I sat broken. Alone. I wept for me, for my Jesus, for the hurting world.
I wish there was some happy ending, but I don’t have that yet. I don’t have answers. I don’t have a solution. But what I do have is a voice… and you, my friend, have inspired me not to stay silent.
You see, I believe Thomas. I think he, I think all of our church staff, will welcome the “outlier” (and let’s be real, isn’t that actually all of us?) with open arms.
The true question, I think, is – will we follow their example? Will we accept those who believe differently, act differently, question our faith? Will we be real? Vulnerable? Safe?
Or will we stay silent?