The talk I'm doing for the women's weekend is about putting one's faith into action. A good half of my talk is about a woman who put her faith into action by reaching out to me when I was a lonely, young mother. This woman loved me right into the arms of God. The more I wrote the talk, the more I missed her.
Two years ago this woman abruptly cut off all communication with me. My only inkling that she wasn't talking to me came when I tried calling her and she never answered her phone or returned messages. I had seen her do this with a mutual friend for reasons that were immature. I was sure I was in the same boat. I felt angry, sad and more sad. After several months I left a message on her daughter's message center and that went unanswered as well. Eventually I gave up. I was pissed at her most of the time by then. She had mentored me for 18 years, and the void her absence created was very painful. There were many key milestones in my life without her presence these past two years.
Sometimes I wondered if it would take a catastrophic event to reconnect. Or that one of us would have something serious to deal with in the interm and miss the opportunity to support one another when we needed it the most. She has never been good at staying in contact at the best of times. What she has been good at is being present when in conversation with me.
She is one of two women who have known me through everything (the other one is my college roomate, Liz), who has stuck by me when I was in the pit. She also modeled over the years what it looked like to walk the walk.
Well, until she didn't.
I give my talk this Saturday to the team who is working the women's weekend. I pictured someone raising their hand afterwards and asking me about my current relationship with this woman. "um, she's no longer speaking to me."
So, yesterday I picked up the phone once again and called. She answered.
What followed was a three hour conversation full of confession, repentance, grace and forgiveness. Both of us sobbed more than once. I was able to communicate my hurt, and pain at her rejection. My insecurity that I wouldn't know what to do if she did this again. Honest words flowed between us. Things got said that needed to be said.
She had been in a spiritual desert and had been unable to reach out when she needed me the most. Her life long habit of isolating when in any kind of pain kicked in and despite her knowing she needed me, she curled inward even more. Her two years in the desert, a time where her whole faith journey seemed to be nothing but platitudes, left her feeling dead inside. She had nothing to give. She had no words to even tell me that. Hence her silence.
She's been out of the desert for a little while now. Her faith is deeper. Her words more honest. Our relationship restored. Thanks be to God.