Sandra and Ellen sat in Sandra’s dining room drinking tea. Ellen was sharing a heartache with her neighbor who had happened join her on her porch as she cried that morning. Sandra, always having been a courteous neighbor, had invited Ellen over, curious as to why Ellen was so distraught.
Ellen began by telling her that she and her girlfriend were about to be married on Wednesday afternoon. Sandra, congratulated her. Ellen’s smile did not reach her eyes. Sandra waited for her to continue. A very treasured family member had told Ellen that she could not be there, due to her “love for God and His ways”. Ellen’s voice dripped with sarcasim as she held her fingers up to “quote-end-quote”. Sandra understood.
“She has ALWAYS been there for me! Always. And now this? How can I possibly forgive this?” Ellen cried, tears competing with a running nose.
Sandra handed her a tissue. After a few moments, the tears returned to a few trickles.
“I have a question, if you don’t mind telling me, has this person always lived everything she believes? I mean, backed it up in every way?” Sandra risked poking in.
“Yes, absolutely. I mean, with growth over the years. She always would tell me, ‘it’s not about being perfect, it’s about learning to stretch and grow’, but yeah.” Ellen sniffed.
“Well, I’m no religious person. In fact I don’t believe in God at all. But it strikes me that perhaps you should not see this as such a surprise. If you’ve always respected this person, and known where they end and begin, I suppose what just happened just reinforces what’s always been there. I mean, that you can count on this person. She hasn’t contradicted herself, in fact, with much risk, she maintained her stand. That’s rather rare in my opinion. Most the people I know that say the love God and believe in Him, are constantly doing things that seem to compromise their “belief system”. It’s one of the reasons why I’m an atheist. I’ve read the Bible, noone stands like those people did way back then. I mean the “good ones”. There always seems to be a place where they give in to something or other that contradicts what the God of the Bible said. Usually it is where loved ones are concerned. But it seems to me, if she loves you she’ll continue to be what she’s always been, an live what she really believes, even if it costs her something. Was she smug about telling you she couldn’t be there?” Sandra asked, almost hoping for some chink in this persons armor.
“No, I could see she was torn too. I guess I never thought of it that way. I should have known she would not be able to come to my wedding to another woman. She’s never rejected Gwen or myself. This, like I said, is the first time she’s ever had to say, “I can’t choose you on this one, kiddo” It just hurts, ya know?” Again the tears began to flow steadily down Ellen’s face.
“I bet, I’m certainly not saying it should not hurt. But when it comes to trust, I’d say don’t let the hurt of this take that away from you both. If she will back up her beliefs like you say. Then she’s likely still very trustworthy. Thats hard to find. I don’t want people in my life who just always do things that make me happy, and just like me. I want people who stand firm, and even challenge me at times.” Said Sandra
Ellen giggled through a sniffle.
“She does that! I just can’t image her not being there.”
“Does it make you think twice about what you’re about to do?” Sandra ventured
“Yes, but how can love be wrong? I love Gwen, if God is love, how can our love be wrong? I just can’t get around that.” Ellen went from tears to outright anger.
Sandra gulped, and charged ahead.
“Well, Ellen, I don’t know you well. But if you say you believe in the God of the Bible, then you are saying you think, well, He’s God. You know, the One that knows everything, made everything and can tell you how to do everything and you can trust that God. As I said, I’m not unfamiliar with the Bible. I like to know what I don’t believe. He makes it clear that your love for Gwen is at best misplaced. So it seems you have to decide if you can say, like your loved one, “I believe in this God, and stand and live accordingly”. Sounds to me like at least some of this hurt may be more to do with a crisis of belief than the events themselves. You’re in a tough spot. We’re you raised in a church?” Sandra let out an inner breath. Where did that come from, am I encouraging her to believe in God?
Ellen kept her head down and remained silent for a moment.
“Yes, I was raised to believe in Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Spirit, as the Bible states.” Ellen let out a huff. “Pfft, but in a church, no. Churches are hypocritical.”
Don’t I know it! Thought Sandra, relieved. Yet something else tugged at the edges of her mind. It irritated her, but her mouth was moved to open.
“I agree, they are, but it seems so are you right now, achem, I mean if you believe as you say you do, that is. I’m sorry, it’s not really my business. I don’t mean to offend ya.” Sandra blurted and covered it up with apology. How in the name of all that is did that come out of my mouth?
Ellen stared at Sandra for what seemed like an hour. And then…
“Well maybe, but then I’m just doing what everyone does I guess, learning. I love Gwen, that’s all I know. Guess God is going to have to work around that!”
Again, Sandra’s mouth opened and words stunned.
“Well, they do say He’s the God of the impossible!” Sandra quickly went into sarcastic mode to cover.
Ellen and Sandra giggled. Then Ellen excused herself and left. Sandra took a huge breath. What just happened here? Her mind was drawn over and over that day to – well… there’s no other way to put it – pray for Ellen and Gwen and Ellen’s loved one she was so hurt by. The whole day they would not leave her thoughts and the Words of the Bible she did not believe in kept playing like a “bad country tune” as she thought of them. It would seem that Ellen’s loved ones stand had made an impression on Sandra, and she didn’t even know her name! Respectability is hard to find these days, she rationalized. Sandra found herself hoping she might just meet this loved one who could not be at Ellen’s wedding because she loved God so much. At the same time the other part of her dripped with distain at the thought of it. Again another scripture from “that Bible” ran through her mind. Something about a heart divided not being able to stand or some such thing. It was absurd, she had only really read the dang thing once! Just as quickly the image of that Bible tucked away in the closet came to mind. She felt an irresistible urge to go pull it out. All day and well into the next day her thoughts centered around Ellen, her loved one, and that dusty old Bible. Wednesday rolled around and Sandra caught Ellen and Gwen leaving next door. They were on their way to their wedding. They looked happy, Sandra felt sad. She walked into her house, and went to the closet, found the dusty Bible and pulled it out. Intent on reaffirming her lack of need or belief for it, she sat down and began to read.
“In the beginning, God, …”
Meanwhile, Ellens ‘loved one’ was praying for Ellen, for Gwen, for everyone they know and all who would come to know the Lord through the “impossible”.
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡