Heart of Stone

Let the stone become whatever it is that is your biggest stumbling block. And lay it down somewhere on your journey, to God’s care.

I want to throw it. Full force, straight ahead of me. Not because I am without sin, but because I am replete with it. Because the stumbling block that I have entrusted to God time, and time again, is still right in front of my eyes. Even when I close my eyes, it clouds my thoughts, traverses my night-time restlessness. It is always before me.

I am as stone. Hard and cold. I am successful academically. My last paper was blogged by the Times Higher – the altmetrics score has soared, as more and more people have picked up on the story. I have a summer placement and Research Assistants to look after it; its value in research terms, of the magnitude I could not have dreamt possible. I am teaching something I love at a place whose quirkiness outstrips my own eccentricities. I have much to be thankful for.

*

Academic successs is futile. It will all be blown away one day. It is relationships that are more important. And I have the best office mates,. With seven people in a room, things could so easily go  wrong – but they work. And I have some truly loyal friends. I know this. But I daren’t trust to it.I daren’t feel it. I am frightened of when they will leave me. Just as the minister left, having sstoneeen my vulnerability, displayed at her invitation. Just as friends have abandoned me in the past. The solitary walks home from school, stood up,  after months of argument with my parents, ‘I want to walk with my friends‘.

 God can break open hearts of stone.

Or so the Lenten refrain says. But mine has been granite for so, so long. Full of hate and despair, and hurt, I dare not break it open. The pain if it does, is too much to bear. The minister says in her last letter that she wants forgiveness between everyone before she leaves. I know I am excepted from this. I am beyond forgiveness. Nothing changes between us, the ostracism continues. The hurt continues. I am beyond bad. It is best that my heart is of stone. Would that my mind became stone, too.  Would that God would roll the stones away. 

This is not life. I do not want to live like this anymore.

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2 Responses to Heart of Stone

  1. But the problem is that your heart is not of stone. That’s why you hurt. Stone doesn’t hurt; it doesn’t feel. You feel; that’s why you hurt.

    Your minister may have abandoned you. But your friends won’t. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing you after Easter. And you are right: she encouraged your vulnerability and then withdrew. Just as you sometimes respond out of your own illness, that was the response of her illness.

    And forgiveness is not in your gift: it’s in her’s. She will not experience forgiveness until she changes her mind (repentance). Only she can effect that: you can’t until it’s sought. You have repeatedly acknowledged that you sometimes respond out of your illness. She needs to do the same.

    Since you are barred from communication, I don’t see how you can instigate reconciliation. And that highlights the dilemma: the position of a minister who is unable to communicate with a member of their own congregation is untenable. It is entirely acceptable to realise that someone’s needs or illness are beyond the scope of the normal pastoral relationship, but that does not preclude basic communication.

    All I can say is that you are loved and valued, and that your friends love to have you around. There’s a space at my kitchen table waiting for you!

    xx

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  2. Pingback: Beneath the smile | Discovering Faith (and Doubt and Hope) in Christ

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