choosing


I was slurping a steamy bowl of pho while the friend across the table from me ranted. She went on me listed wrong after wrong that her family had done. She told me how she responded and the clever lines she had used. And I completely agreed with her inside, but I paused briefly from my soup while she stopped long enough for me to comment...and I am certain that she did not like what I had to say.
I told her she was right on the money. She grinned, glad to have my support.
But.
And it was a really big but.
That she could chose to be right OR she could chose relationship.
Sometimes we do not get to have both.

She kept talking. Justifying her response. And her actions. And I just slurped my soup and listened
Only to tell her it doesn't matter.
She has to choose which is more important, being right and letting everyone know it or mending the relationship.

I haven't talked to her recently. But I think she chose being right.
And sometimes that is the necessary choice. Not every relationship should be mended.
But. Often. I chose to be right when I should just choose to be quiet.
When I should choose love.

I am quick with words and rebuttals. My introverted husband doesn't stand a chance in a verbal argument. I am right even when I am wrong. But it doesn't come without a cost. Lingering feelings and anger often for things I can't even remember what the initial argument was about.

Yesterday I stayed home sick. My daughter, also stayed home sick, but her sick looked more like loudly dancing around the living room and interrupting me about every 5 minutes to ask a question. I got zero rest and ended up on Facebook and the internet.
And the more I read. The sicker I felt.

Lots of people out there, with the best of intentions were choosing to be right. Rather than relationship. (Just google World Vision if you are in the dark here and be warned, some of you are going to want to stop reading now).

Some things are worth taking a stand for, and even if I agreed with their version of right...(which I don't)... I have always admired people with solid convictions...because mine have always been a bit murky. But. If they are going to choose right over relationship.....you'd think that it would at least be something that Jesus felt called to mention...at least once. (He did however mention feeding the poor at least 9 times).

God is righteous and holy and perfect. And since humans are big sin slobbering messes, He spent a good chunk of the Old Testament telling us how to clean it up. Who is unclean and who isn't. What to eat and what not to eat. Where to sit and where not to sit. I could go on for days because there are 613 laws in the Old Testament, essentially telling us how to be righteous and holy and get clean.
God kept trying. Giving the Jewish people more rules, reminders, rituals and even followed them around in a cloud through the desert. But. That was not enough.
Humanity was still a mess. We were still getting it wrong.

So instead of condemning us. He chose relationship.
He chose to come and dwell among us. While we were still dirty and messy and all kinds of screwed up. He picked fishermen and tax collectors to be his disciples. He talked to women and children. He touched the unclean. He broke all the rules.

I am so tired of people trying to be right.
Especially when it so hurtful.
I don't think this is the example of the guy I keep reading about.
Every single time when it came down to being right or being in relationship-- Jesus chose relationship. He occasionally spoke sharply but he never spoke hate. He chose the messy and the marginal.
And long before they got cleaned up or probably even washed the fish smell off their hands.
And for some reason I still have a hard time fathoming...he chose me.

I almost never write about things political or controversial.  It makes me uncomfortable and opens up the table to arguments I don't want to be in, but I read enough of people being right yesterday that it just felt so incredibly wrong. You may not agree with me. That is fine. You don't have to. Hopefully we can still be friends and you won't send me a nasty email or write a long hurtful comment about how right you are.

A few years ago a friend wrote me from Peru, heartbroken. She had just ended a relationship and was in that dark ugly place we have all been where the only solution is lots of time, ice cream and Air Supply's greatest hits. I tried to be kind and relate to her hurt.....but my response only made it worse. You see, her heart break was over a girl. And one of the questions that she asked me was if this was her punishment.  If she would always be alone because she desired a wife rather than a husband.
I completely dodged the question. Mostly because I didn't have an answer.
I didn't condemn her, but I wouldn't tell her that wasn't true.
I couldn't answer for her because I told her it wasn't my heart, it wasn't my issue, it wasn't mine to wrestle with. That I didn't have answers but I didn't feel like I needed to. In other words...these are your questions to sort out. I have enough of my own to deal with.
I should also mention this girl loves Jesus passionately and does more to serve the needy and the poor and the widow and the orphan on a single day than I do in an entire month. (and that is on a good month).She wrote back and said this" If people like you won't stand up for me, won't love me without shame or apology, won't fight for my rights as a basic human, then who will?"
I didn't know how to answer, but this time ice cream and sappy love songs wouldn't fix it.

I chose silence and fear of being wrong over relationship...and sometimes that is just as bad.

Different girls. These two I have known since they were tweens, tucked in their too tiny bunks and blowing fuses with too many hair dryers getting ready for the Camp Stewart dance. Now they are amazing women with the cutest kids and glasses I have ever seen (except maybe my kids ). It has been a dusty hill country road that brought them together, but in just a few short months I will sit there in a new dress...probably wiping away a tear or two...as they promise to love each other til death do them part.
Do they love Jesus? I'm not sure. I know they have both been brutally wounded by the church and people they trusted. And days like yesterday on Facebook didn't  help. I do know that they know that God shows up along FM 1340. They have felt him in the cold Guadalupe waters. They have heard him speak in late nights around a fire, laying flat on their backs on the tennis courts counting stars, and laughing til we ache even into our 30s. They know relationship.
And I chose wedding cake and dancing til my feet hurt instead of being right.

I will try to chose love every single time.



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