Every week I have a great conversation with a dear brother by FaceTime. It is always a time of deep sharing.
Last week, Wednesday morning he shared something with me, a bombshell, that caused me to be afraid for him. If I told you what he had decided which caused my fear, many of you would think “Brian, that’s no big deal.” But it felt big to me. We talked about his decision a bit, but since we were at the end of our time, postponed further discussion until our next call.
I left the call really needing to let go but I couldn’t. I kept asking questions — after the many hours of conversation over the whole year, was he just nodding and smiling but not believing anything I said? Did he value my opinion? While he was making his decision, and pondering it, we had been talking and he never mentioned it. Such thoughts began to work on me.
What is the level of our love truly, when he had not trusted me with the decision-making process?
He could have talked again the same afternoon as he had dropped his news, but I was not available. I said we could wait until our next call. He had compared his decision not to share with a decision I had made a couple of years previous, in which he had felt left out as well. So, I put it under that umbrella.
The next morning, I became overwhelmed.
As I showered I began to cry, and could not stop crying. The bottom line thought was, what if he dies? Karen asked me what was going on, when I began to tell her, the sobs came afresh. She was there, gave me a hug and understanding.
Then she said, “You know, Brian, could we let God be bigger than all this?”
God is bigger. I knew it in my head, but my heart was unconvinced.
I had early morning meetings scheduled at the office, that day, so left and cried on the way there. As I drove, God brought back lines from the book I had written, which some of you are reading: “Fear and Faith cannot share the same room.” And, “Rebuke fear.” I laughed as these came back. I realized I was giving willing residence to fear so rebuked it and it lifted.
Then, a line from a passage I was meditating on came to me. It was from the start of the crucifixion passage in Luke 23. In this account, Jesus, suffering intensely having just been raised up on the cross, spoke saying,
“Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
What struck me in light of the current situation with my friend was how often rather than forgive, my first response is fear, or anger, or upset. Here I was with an extra box of Kleenex mopping up my tears when nothing had happened! Truly.
So, driving, I began to forgive the ones who, I believed, had hoodwinked my friend. Forgive my friend for not speaking with me. I continued rebuking fear and forgiving as I drove.
Reaching the office, I unloaded all my things into a cubicle and set up for my first zoom call. It was with my dear friend David in England. He couldn’t hear me at all for some reason at first. He was looking around the screen for some button to adjust, with this intense, searching expression, when I realized he was not wearing his headset. So, I mimed and shouted, “David! Your Ears!” He saw me and burst out laughing and laughed some more putting his headphones on.
His face had looked so comical, and his laughter sparked joy in me as well. Joy flooded my heart. I didn’t share any of my angst with David, for many reasons. The most basic was I had pondered it plenty and needed to move forward and transition to work mode.
This was a good thing, my first mediation appointment turned into a four-hour, very challenging journey. I needed to be 100% there.
The other conversation with my friend is yet upcoming. But his news, as difficult as it was for me, has ended up helping me grow and change even before we talk.
I’m choosing gratitude for my friend’s news.