Today is Good Friday, and I've just come home from a community service led by several pastors at a nearby church. I went alone, and that's significant for me because I've experienced so much of my Christian life as part of community. I didn't see anyone I know there. Ralph is out of town, John didn't want to come with me. I was alone there and it was okay.
I've known for a long, long time that my spiritual life is between me and God, but my spiritual experience is in community with others. Ralph would love to be an ascetic, to go on a silent retreat, to be alone in Christ. I'd hate it! I do hate it, now that it's my life experience!
I know the Holy Spirit changed my thinking a few years ago when I was able to stop waiting for God to fill in the hole left when we were asked to leave our church. God wasn't going to "fix" the situation or my grief, he asked me simply to step over it and keep going, and to trust Him. I've gone back to the void a number of times to mourn, and to see if there is anything I can throw into it to fill it in, but it stays a gap. And I don't know if I've moved very far past it; I don't see many milestones marking progress. In fact, a couple new, hurtful instances since then illustrate a new-found willingness to forgive and let go of the person, rather than to forgive the offense and embrace the person. Some of that is growth, because I no longer need to "fix" relationships, and some is because I want to require others' acknowledgment of how they've offended me.
I think I saw a little more change in myself today, at the Good Friday service. Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Okay, I get it, just forgive, no strings attached. Do I have to be the one to try to reestablish relationship? I'll wait on the Holy Spirit for direction. After all, it was while Jesus was forsaken by his Father that he entrusted/committed his spirit into the Father's hands. He demonstrated that if anything is true, it's that the Father is trustworthy with one's soul. And yes, after three days in the grave, Jesus reestablished relationships with those who'd rejected him as well as those who'd loved him. So, I'll wait until I'm out of the grave, too.