Yesterday, I spent the day in Greensboro with my UNCG college kid and my gap-year-bound kid.
It was a two hour trip there and a two hour trip back which means I had 4 hours of dashboard time and that, my friends, is my absolute best thinking time.
Before I left the house, I imagined that four hours behind the wheel would lend itself to ruminating on a decision I made earlier in the day, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this post...because I actually began writing it last week but wrestled with the exact thing I wanted to say.
Actually, I knew what I wanted to say, but I didn't know if I should say it.
In full disclosure, when I had grand plans for blogging again, I wanted to write fun stuff because in real life, I am freaking hysterical. For real. I. Am. Funny. I'm witty. I laugh all the time. I wanted to blog again to give me an outlet to tell you a story, give you a recipe, tell you all my mishaps while I cook hard to prepare food.
Here's me when I think I'm being funny.
But hot dang, every freaking time I sit to write, my fingers do not tell the story I sit down planning to tell.
Maybe it's the enneagram 4 in me.
Maybe it's the Spirit.
Maybe it's my own need to work out what I think and feel.
Maybe it's the Spirit revealing more of the Father and more of the Son through my 4-ness.
Who the heck knows.
It is what it is and I'm sorry I'm not light and funny online.
Come have coffee with me and I promise we'll laugh until we pee our pants.
But until then, I give you some hard thoughts and a recipe.
For nearly three years now, I have been keenly aware that every possible wound had the potential to be the birthplace for a root of bitterness that could force a green shoot from its gnarly source in order to grow into something deadly within my soul.
But about three years ago, after Thad's diagnosis which was personally life-altering to me, the Wound became the birthplace for a deep root called Bitterness. I still called the root, Wound because that was its birthplace. And by calling it Wound, I was able to justify its existence and point to the person who I felt had done the wounding. Initially, the root managed to force just one green shoot from it's dark hiding place, but I nurtured it. I fed it self-righteousness. I watered it in pride. I fertilized it in pity. I bathed it in raw emotions and then I gave it space to flourish.
What had, at one time, been a legitimate wound became the birthplace of something deadly within me.
I want to tell you that I woke up one day and realized I was suffocating in a vine of my own making.
But I didn't.
I spent nine months and approximately $1K to have a therapist sit quietly across the room from me, pass me tissues, and wait for me to unearth the root and call it by its right name.
Last week, Thad posed the question to the body called Fellowship:
Where might my sin lead me?
The context of his question was Genesis 37 where Joseph's brothers plotted to kill him.
But rather than camping out on verse 24 that tells us the brothers threw Joseph in the cistern and left him to die, we sat with the very first part of next verse, verse 25:
As they sat down to eat their meal...
The brothers committed a horrific act and instead of being horrified by their own depravity, they simply prepared a spread of food and gathered around to eat together, directly upon the ground their brother lay beneath.
In the middle of Sunday worship, I was struck not with the egregious act of plotting a murder, but with the sheer act of normalcy that followed the first step in carrying it out.
Their sin had led them to a place where murder seemed like the next logical step.
In recent months, as COVID numbers have risen amid political unrest and rising racial injustices, churches have become splintered and fractured because of the hidden sin in leadership, personal preferences among members, and mounting shame in our own inability, as the Body of Christ, to confess our sin and allow ourselves to be fully known and fully loved, I have felt the all too familiar rise in my chest that tells me that the root of bitterness I can never quite fully unearth and destroy is ripening under my own personal feelings of pride, of jealousy, of anger, of resentment, of hatred, even.
We are living in an age where everyday life can feel like one continuous reel of bad news, scandal, gaslighting, hard decisions, disappointments, and huge losses.
Each of us are walking around in broken bodies, carrying our own share of bad news, trying to hang onto one shred of normalcy, of hope, of self.
And some of us, those of us who have walked through our most personally hurtful days during one of the darkest periods of American history, feel we no longer have the capacity to do the hard work of staying in relationships when our own personal wounds receive truth as salt and love as too heavy a burden to both bear and to give.
So we withdraw.
We leave those who may hurt us if given the chance.
We cut ourselves off from the Body and make a home within ourselves to house the hurt we cannot bear to bring to light, not imagining that we have now created the perfect environment for a destructive root to grow.
Our wounds now buried in a perfect place, alone, have the capacity to grow into bitterness.
And bitterness, if not rooted out, will be the birth of the place our sin will lead us.
About eighteen months ago, a person I loved wounded me deeply.
Their wound came in the form of leaving Fellowship with no explanation. She and her family simply left. And I allowed that wound to become another birthplace of bitterness.
A year later, in the middle of our state's shelter in place mandate where we were in the full throes of making family style meals to go, she called the brewery to order a salad. I was in the middle of baking Ham and Tomato pies for other customers and I remembered that she used to love them.
So I baked an extra one and stuck it in her bag.
It was a quick decision; not one I really had to consider.
Feeding people is how I love people and in the moment, my body remembered I loved her, not that she had wounded me.
And in that same moment, as I was living into the fullness of who God had made me to be and not what Sin wanted me to remember, the work of my flour-covered hands unearthed the root of bitterness but left the wound.
And the wound,
Still tender to the touch,
Serves as a reminder that I am human
As she is human,
Each of us capable
Of both wounding
While in process of becoming people who give birth to healing and more healing.
HAM and TOMATO PIE
Serves 4 as a main dish; 6 as a side dish
And for the love of time, use a store bought pie crust for this recipe.
8 oz of diced ham, not deli ham
1/2 cup of diced onions
1, 9inch regular, unbaked pie crust
1 TBSP of dijon mustard
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
1 large egg
1/3 cup of half-n-half
1TBSP of chopped, fresh basil
1/4 tsp of ground pepper
Saute' ham and chopped onions in a skillet over medium heat until ham is browned and most of the liquid has evaporated.
Brush the mustard into the bottom of the pie crust and top with half the cheese. Spoon the ham mixture evenly over the cheese and top with one layer of tomatoes. Beat the egg and then stir in the half-n-half until blended. Pour over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil, pepper, and the rest of the cheese.
Bake on the lowest rack in the oven at 425* for 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown and set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve room temperature or slightly warm.
Serve with a salad and fresh grits.