It's been a while since I blogged here... partly on purpose.
The last time I wrote something was just before my daughter had a seizure in January... then another. She was in the hospital and we were full of questions.
So much of our lives felt touch-and-go for a while. How could I possibly blog here?
Eventually we realized we could move forward... one cautious step at a time. But by that point I wasn't sure what to write of any personal nature.
It was around this time that someone blasted me apart in an email that was mass emailed out to 50 people (and yapped about by more than those 50). Most people saw through it, while others bought into it. Ironically, all I was trying to do was reconcile with the guy.
I was devastated. People I thought were friends suddenly became quite unfriendly. Who I am, my household and church became a "topic" - as if we could be discussed with criticism without feeling any sort of pain or damage.
By the way - a lot of pain and damage did occur.
Again, that came right after my daughter's hospital and medical issues.
As time went on, the person never apologized for it. I had to deal with the wake of it almost every other week as someone new was caught up in its ripples.
Somewhere in there I felt the sting of a financial gap. Our church had been struggling financially, so I took a voluntary pay cut. It meant extra side work was necessary for me to serve my household. In the process of taking on a ton of work all at once, I wrote two books, a lot of curriculum and more. That sounds good on paper, but I ran out of juice, time and more. The stress it caused was felt throughout my family. I thought I'd bottomed out internally.
This was when all of it started to collide together... the question of medical bills, financial strain, being misunderstood by people close to us and more... all of it... it all added up.
Toss in Easter... already a big deal, but we relaunched our church around then. We had a massive building project in the mix, too. Everyone had an opinion about everything. Much of it added up and subtracted me down to a divided spirit that only multiplied.
"Boo hoo... woe is me," I thought.
Then my best guy friend in all the world lost his daughter. She was ten and died almost instantly as they were all serving as missionaries in Africa.
Sometimes it takes perspective to have perspective.
I've spent a lot of time in the midst of all of this trying to figure out what it means to move forward. There's much I won't write here, including how some of the struggles haven't been mine alone to bear. Others I love are likewise working out what all of this means.
I mentioned to my friend that I had a memory from January of walking downstairs in the hospital when my daughter had finally relaxed to try to find something for my wife and I to eat. It was here that I saw it...
I'm a pastor, and I've visited many hospitals.
In every hospital that I can remember, I have always found lime jello.
You would think that I'd find something red more often than something lime... strawberry... cherry... maybe even raspberry.
Without fail, I always see lime jello.
I shared with my friend how absurd this is - as if there was some research that was done by hospitals and they reasoned that by putting lime jello in their selection that you would think, "I wasn't expecting that. I was expecting red. But lime jello... well... that's different."
Maybe you would then think, "Maybe the unexpected is still possible. Maybe a miracle can happen. Maybe there's more to life than this moment."
Who knows? Maybe it's that strategic and subliminal. Or maybe not. Maybe it's just that lime is cheaper than any other flavor.
Either way, it's there... all the time... lime jello.
You'll notice that I took that picture in January and waited until now to post it.
It's because this past week I found some lime jello in a few different moments I wasn't expecting:
- I found forgiveness for the jerk way I was treated and belittled in the mass email. It still hurts and I have to call it for what it was, but at this point I can love the flawed source behind it. How can I not? After all, isn't this what I ask of God everyday for myself?
- I watched the church I'm in be reborn before my very eyes. God did something amazing and profound that has His fingerprints all over it through the many hands of others. It's something I've been praying for years would happen.
- I had a conversation with someone who rediscovered the cross of Jesus Christ and likewise began a shoeless walk into His holiness and grace again. Again, something I've been seeking God on.
I'm not sure what the future of this blog looks like, but years ago it gave me sanity to begin it when I was going through junk about junk. Somehow it helped me find my footing, not to mention my voice.
So between here, my leadership blog and a youth ministry blog I've been offered the chance to write for I'm going to be sharing my lime jello with anyone who wants some.
Need a spoon?