Had the most amazing dream the other night featuring some friends who used to be quite close to me: we were at some gathering somewhere-- felt like a cave or a small bookshop or something, but it was a church or ministry hub. The couple were the special speakers that day and the husband was talking to the crowed, getting a really positive reception. The wife turned and looked at me, smiling broadly. She looked beautiful (the last vivid dream I had about this same couple, about 5 years ago, featured them both looking fairly corpse-like, speaking at a large church with storm clouds gathering behind it. Hm.). Her hair was a glossy dark brown and her coloring was so vibrant. She looked at me and mouthed the words, "I love you!" My waking thoughts were a strange medly of serenity and the creeps.
It's weird how things get fixed in our minds and hearts, isn't it?
For some reason, the relationship with this couple-- the experience of it and the demise of it-- has been a defining experience in my life. Lately, I wonder where it might be headed, this experience and all of the ideas and beliefs it has spawned. I know that it was not for nothing. I know that I am not the same, in a thousand positive ways, because of it. But it sticks in my craw like nothing I have ever experienced. And it's localized: there was at least one other person involved in the situation whose role is peripheral in my memory at best, though his/her involvement served as the primary catalyst for something I had not seen coming: a break in a friendship that needed an "event" for breaking.
At any rate, that was years ago. Today, I wonder what would have happened had the friendship not been broken, but I also wonder how far the need for separation extends ( I would have likely joined them in some sort of full-time ministry simply because I loved being around them-- it was not the path God had for me, or even close). How long are you "on restriction"? Is it necessary to have outstanding warrants in our lives? I do not long for reconciliation as much as I crave resolution, I think. Or maybe I do long for resolution but am unwilling to admit it. Maybe I long for forgiveness (hindsight reveals that I was a tremendous butthead, but I recounted that in earlier entries...) and release. Maybe I am obsessive about order in relationships and cannot handle the thought that there are at least two people out there who maintain silent treatment me-ward and are willing and capable of sustaining it for good. Yikes; I don't have that kind of self control!
But it's late at night when these thoughts crowd my mind. My life, amazingly good and full, is not so empty that I am dogged by the need for one more friend (though they are always welcome!).... No, it is the unfinished-ness and wrongness of the whole thing that I struggle to let go of.... It's at night when I wake up after a dream or am bothered by the memory of some country that I experienced with them that I seem unable to shake that sense of undone, undone, undone, and I ask my husband-- who does not know them, has never met them-- "Do you think that this will ever be resolved?" And he, the best person I know, pulls me close and reminds me that I have done all that I can.
And that is what bothers me, long after he has gone back to sleep. I did so much badly. It seems that it will always outweigh the good that I attempted at the end.
I am so grateful that the God I serve does not insist on holding my sins against me, though so often we determine to hold them against each other.
Where will this endless sentence finally pool? Why can't I shake this? I wonder why these thoughts come almost exclusively at night, and why so intensely for short seasons with long rests in between? Even the good dreams seem nightmarish, almost mocking. Not reassuring for long. When will I just forget?
It's late-- it accounts for the melancholy. But I am in earnest. What is the purpose behind this? I am convinced that there is one. The mystery remains. But here's this: I know that there is an answer. There always is.