Good morning my friends.
I awakened very early this morning from a dream. When I wake up I usually can’t get back to sleep so I got up and made coffee. I’m drinking it now and decided to write my weekly letter to you. It’s been percolating for a while, and it’s time I wrote it.
(About dreams: I’m creating an online course to help people interpret their own dreams. I hope to have it up and running within the next week. I’m looking forward to that.)
But what I really want to talk to you about it is community… particularly how I believe community needs, in order to be valuable, to be able to provide space and time for people to heal themselves.
Just a few days ago a friend of mine was kicked out of a group because she’s going through a divorce and the leader was uncomfortable with her anger. My friend gave me permission to share the letter she received:
“I am afraid I have some bad news. I have to discontinue your blog posts on (our) page.
As much as I understand the pain of your marriage, I have been watching your progression into bitterness and even worldliness over the past several months. It has come to open slander against your former church and I can’t abide in that.
I am urging you to deal with this sinful anger and bitterness that I can see (from hundreds of miles away) before it ruins your life. I am urging you to stop making such postings about your personal life on facebook and in your personal blog, they do not reflect well on your Christian testimony.
I will be praying for you.“
Typical! I say typical because this is what happens almost all the time. I ranted about this in a video on Facebook last night. It’s getting more attention than I thought it would.
So I had a dream the night this happened to my friend and she shared her story with me. Let me share with you my dream:
“I am in an old house with many people, friends and old friends, who are still very much believers and church-goers. I can tell something’s wrong. I can tell they have an issue with me. So I press them. Finally, one of them blurts out, “We’re tired of your negativity! It’s having an effect on us, and even on our children!” I am very hurt and upset by this. They fail to understand the seriousness and the implications and ramifications of what I’ve gone through, and what other people I know are going through. I feel an implicit pressure to return to the fold, but I realize this would be at great cost to my conscience, integrity, and honesty. I would have to live a lie. I’m sad this means they will remain angry with me.”
So obviously what happened to my friend really resonated with me more than I was conscious of. But more than resonated! I realized after I had this dream that I responded so strongly to what happened to her because it represents exactly what happened to me and to people I love.
People, and our communities, can handle struggle… up to a point. I don’t know exactly where the line is. It depends on the severity of what happened to the struggler and the grace-quotient of the people. For minor things, maybe a month or two. For bigger things, maybe a few months or a little more. Then it’s time to get over it and move on and stop being a drag on the rest of us!
This is one of the main reasons why I launched The Lasting Supper. It was to provide a space for people to be very real for as long as required. Why? Because I’ve seen in my own life and in the lives of many others that when we are given space and time and support, we learn to help ourselves and heal ourselves. Even from major traumas!
So let’s keep on being real and being healers. Process for as long as it takes.
Help yourself! We can do this!