I am missing Myrna again. This time of year she made sure we all got together. This time of year in Canada we have a Thanksgiving dinner. I am tearing up again in thankfulness.
Darn that date snuck up on my calendar, and I was not prepared. God how I miss Myrna. I hastily pulled together my little family and all the trappings, and we are having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings on Monday. I made sourdough baguettes today. My daughter is bringing pie. My dad will bring a bottle of his home-made wine. And my son will bring himself, hopefully with the rest of his hair trimmed.
I did not get around to calling dad until this morning, really I was very lucky someone else had not invited him first. He's looking forward to visiting with my daughter. He worries about her. My heart is full. Restoration is in the wind, and it feels wonderful.
Recently I encouraged my JW hubby to work through an offence the bible way, and confront the offender directly. The man is a ministerial servant. You can guess how well THAT went. Within seconds there were three elders involved. Within days a young girl was "encouraged" to switch congregations. My husband was firmly advised not to rock the boat. To throw salt on the wounds, a fellow in the congregation asked hubby this week, "Haven't you got over that yet?" Now compare THAT experience with an encounter I had this week.
The advice I gave my hubby I have trouble following myself. I am not very good at confronting. I don't like making waves. The result is that sometimes I let an offence fester, or I tell the wrong people. I am determined to improve on that, as I think direct confrontation and restoration shows respect both for yourself and the person who hurt you. I've been carrying a deep hurt since spring when my beloved Myrna passed away. My church forgot about me. This week I plucked up the courage to send a note to my pastor to call me. He followed up, and I explained what happened. I was sure it was simply a breakdown of communication, because they are so thoughtful in other areas. They are very good at looking after the "little things", and I am guaranteed a card on my birthday, Christmas, and my wedding anniversary. Being married to a JW, you can understand how important those little rememberances mean. So I laid out what happened to my pastor. Here it is fall, and it was still bothering me. So I had to speak up. He apologised deeply and and begged for forgiveness, which I did swiftly. I started to cry. I started to talk about what it is like to be a stepdaughter who grieves deeply, yet is somehow a step removed from the funeral and all the trappings. My grief is just as real. Pastor asked more about my stepmom, and brokenly, I told him how wonderful she was. I cut through a wall of pain, and my pastor supported me through it.
Keep in mind this salaried, senior pastor looks after a congregation of over 200 people. His authority would be equivalent, say, to a Presiding Overseer. Three other significant differences are the time he invests in his ministry, the education he received, and his accountability. He can spend more time than the average elder or PO, because that is his JOB. He does it five days a week and takes Mondays off. He takes regular breaks to make sure he doesn't suffer burnout, an occupational hazard. He is a trusted confidant. Every time I have come to him with a problem he has handled it with forgiveness and grace, restoring rifts in my relationship with God. He helps heal people. I suspect he handles these problems so well because he was TRAINED TO. And, finally, accountability. He is hired on contract by our elected board. If he ever derailed he would be so gone. Also an occupational hazard. I think it makes for accommodating and humble men.
Not so the Watchtower society.
So, to get back to the topic, my pastor and I restored a rift in our relationship, and it feels wonderful. I am crying again, but it is rich with memories of Myrna and how I hope to carry on her legacy of family, togetherness and warmth. I made sourdough baguettes today. My daughter is bringing pie. My dad will bring a bottle of his home-made wine. And my son will bring himself, hopefully with the rest of his hair trimmed. My heart is full. Restoration is in the wind, and it feels wonderful.