[September 27, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
Yesterday I watched Jeff S’s live concert on the web. Megan and I watched it together, and her husband David got home from work in the middle and watched it too once he’d tucked Meg’s youngest child into bed. Megan sometimes sang backing harmonies with her exquisite soprano. I danced my hands in the air to the rhythms and the words, letting my hands go up in worship when they felt like it. We all sang harmonies during the final encore It Is Well With My Soul.
Yesterday Meg and I sat on her couch and walked by the river near her house and she shared with me some of the pain and adversity in her childhood and former marriage. We feel like sisters. We ARE sisters. We are friends. A couple of times Meg did a big pour and then reflexively ended it with “I’m sorry, I’m talking too much.” “No you’re not,” I told her. I love “D and Ms” when they come out organically (= deep and meaningful conversations).
Yesterday Memphis shared on this blog something so moving I had tears pouring down my face as I read the comment out loud to Meg at Meg’s kitchen table, and Meg was weeping too.
The day before yesterday Meg’s sweet four year old, I sat on my lap in a comfy armchair and sang me a song she learned at preschool: “I just thank you God for making me, me! not you, but me!” On the word you she pointed to me, and on the word me she pointed to herself. Differentiation. Individuality. Identity. Truth. Love. The delightful dance of interacting from our individual and emerging personalities when our boundaries are honoured and respected and love can flow between us because that is so.
Yesterday during Jeff’s concert I felt Christ was there (here). The lyrics and the spirit with which Jeff sang and played did not ‘evoke’ the presence of Christ. Words can barely convey this. Jesus was there because He was honoured, and because the emotions and pain of our suffering and our resistance to adversity were honoured. Jesus was not cited, not alluded to, not put on a platform and adulated. He was present because Jeff’s songs go so deep into the heart and the intestines, the hollow organs which are deeply innervated and connected to the brain and the mind (we call them gut feelings because they are; there is real anatomy and physiology behind that expression) that the songs invite and allow us to honour our gut feelings, where the pain of the adversity has been felt. Jesus is in that place. God desires truth in the inward parts, and when we allow that and especially when friends are present with us, honouring it too, not coercing or controlling or writing the script for what ‘should’ happen, His love melts and flows like osmosis across the membranes of our cells, bestowing, as the most tender and humble gift of frankincense offered but not imposed, His understanding, empathy and compassion. And we heal.
And Jesus is the best Friend and He may do this between just one believer and Himself — but when it happens with other friends companioning us, with brother and sister Christians, oh how precious.
Christ in us. Us in Christ. One in Him.
I often think about all the readers who read this blog who don’t comment. The quiet ones. The silent but present ones. I want to honour you all. You are loved and valued and precious witnesses, sharing our friendship in this sweet blog family. Every one of you has your own special story, with many overlaps with other stories but with each your own individual experiences of adversity and resistance and victory and deliverance and the creative ways you maintain dignity and honour in the face of oppression and evil.
I told Meg yesterday that I don’t have many friends in Australia. One in another State of Australia who is part of this blog family. None in the town I live in are part of this blog, to my knowledge. I have three good friends in my town, but they don’t go deep into the stuff we do on this blog. I have a dear survivor friend in Melbourne who is minding my dog while I’m in the States; her young dog and my old dog are keeping each other company. 🙂 The readers and contributors here on this blog are my core friendship network. And I think for many of you it is the same: we feel pretty isolated in our own local communities, but here on this blog we can be real and go deep — or slap happy or uproariously funny or sarcastic — if we wish.
I pondered what category to put this post in. Victims? Supporting victims? No, they were not big enough. I decided it fitted best in the Christianity category because —
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 ESV)
[September 27, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to September 27, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to September 27, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to September 27, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (September 27, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]