She Said, He Said
I pondered a lot about what to post this week because there's a lot of unresolved hurt in my life that I'm working to grow from but I don't want this post to be a poor reaction or an extension of hurt that I haven't dealt with. I am dealing with hurt, and I've grown an incredible amount in the past month as I've processed through that. I've had several conversations with people in one on one contexts that confronted two particular wounds I've received in the last year - one from someone very close to me and one from someone I barely know. I hope to share this post as a glimpse of the healing that's already happened despite the lack of final resolution in the stories of these wounds.
I frequently state that when students try to burn bridges, the joke's on them because I build my bridges out of steel, and Seth was the one to comment that the student very close to me who wounded me deeply earlier this year has "closed the bridge for construction" during this season rather than successfully destroying it. The kid's story isn't over, and neither is mine. I don't know what plot twists are ahead on either of our journeys, but I know that bridge between us is made out of steel. I also know that I have a whole new group of students in my class and alumni I mentor who will have an experience with me as a teacher that is profoundly and positively impacted by the growth I've gone through watching this alumni walk away from Jesus. A different alumni has started calling me randomly on his walk to dinner from his university dorm - which happens to be around midnight my time. He was dorm brothers with this other student for a year at BFA, and we talked about how I was deeply hurt by the older student but how I am also that much more motivated to be a better and more intentional encouragement in this younger student's journey with Jesus.
The second wound came up in conversation with this young alumni during our recent midnight chats, and I gave a brief overview of what happened while trying not to give more information than necessary. I told him the basics: some dude offended me and didn't take the opportunities I gave to him to clear it up. "Yeah, dude's a jerk face," my kid told me confidently. "Hold, up," I replied, "I can think of at least three reasons he's possibly not." Over the course of the past month, I've shifted from saying something along the lines of, "Yeah, that dude was a jerk face to me because he didn't make things right immediately," to a description more like, "I don't know what this guy meant when he said things that sounded offensive, and there's a lot of reasons why he hasn't taken the chance to clear it up yet."
I care a lot about being a good representative of Jesus in my interactions with others, and I know I often fall short. I'm actually scaling back my comments and interactions to be more intentional - I stepped back from Facebook after an attempt to reengage that felt like I was not able to speak well on that platform. I have a lot of students and peers around me that I want to listen to well and speak lovingly with, so I'm using my time to do that to the best of my ability while also still posting here intentionally each week. My audience is diverse for sure, but the minimal feedback I do receive is often encouraging me to love Jesus better. For example, 90% of the time I post here, my friend Kari will send me a message to share some thought that a statement I made provoked. She's got two tiny people and a newborn in her care, and I'm always uplifted by the moment she takes to type out something about how she's going to think differently about loving Jesus or engage in being an amazing mom that day.
I'll keep doing my best to craft posts that foster those kinds of interactions. You're welcome to reach out to me directly if this did in any way spark positive thoughts or I guess even if you have pushback, but more importantly, my hope is that you'd find a way to be an agent of healing today. I'm about to have a tea date with a former student who's worked to make herself an agent of healing in this community and discovered that there's lots of resistance to that along the way, but I'm so excited to keep journeying with her on this adventure where God leads us places we never imagined.