Last week I wrote a post about how it had been a year since I had left the Lutheran Student Center.
After having a conversation with a Good Friend, I realize I wasn't entirely fair in that post.
I think I surprised even myself last week with the emotions that came bubbling to the surface as I wrote, and I allowed those emotions to cloud my writing. The emotions are real--very, very real, and it would be both unfair and unwise to disregard them. But this isn't just a personal little black diary that I keep locked away in a drawer somewhere for nobody's eyes but mine. This is a public forum and I hold some responsibility...heck, a lot of responsibility for the way things are said and the way it makes people look.
An airing of grievances might be a part of Festivus (one of the best Seinfeld episodes ever, btw), but without a balance of compassion and understanding they do nobody any good.
And what I failed to do in my original post was acknowledge that through the whole thing, there was never any doubt in anyone's mind that everyone had the best interests of LSC, the students, the board, and the staff at heart. We had all been thrown into an extremely difficult situation that had gone on for a long time--we had all endured the pain of loss, the floundering of trying to keep the ship of ministry on course, the uncertainty of finances...you name the demon, chances are we all had come face-to-face with it at some point in the previous 2 years.
But through it all, the one thing that never changed was the goodwill and love of the board, staff, and students. That's one thing I never questioned at the time, and one thing I still don't question.
Yes, I wanted to stay longer. And yes I was surprised when after the subject was broached that things happened as quickly as they did. But it ended up being a combination of good intentions (after the first worship service of the year, I had no more responsibilities, yet was paid for the full month of January in an attempt to help me out while I looked for another job) and bad timing (pure coincidence that this all came to a head over semester break).
I really didn't realize this until last week, but I guess some unconscious part of me has been afraid all year that the students, staff, board, and supporters of LSC have thought that I let them down, that I left them high and dry. Reflecting on it now, I think that's where all this emotion came from. While I fully realize that I made plenty of mistakes, I've wondered if people thought I didn't try hard enough, or gave up on it all.
A lot of what you read in that other post was not so much the Festivus "airing of grievances," but LutheranHusker's "airing of insecurities." And as is the case many times when it comes to insecurity, the finger was pointing outward instead of searching for the real heart of the matter.
Here's the bottom line: God is good, even when circumstances are not. God remains faithful to us, even when we find it hard to be faithful. God grows us, stretches us, changes us, transforms us through prosperity, but mostly through adversity. We may not know what we're doing, we may be running around like little mice in a maze, we may make mistakes, but God uses those times to draw us closer to him. Through our own weaknesses, we end up being strengthened.
And when flawed but faithful people try to do good things in God's name, amazing things can happen. Miracles happen. Our Good Friday mournings lead to Easter mornings. I've seen it. I've seen it through the work of LSC. I've seen it through the faithfulness of the people who give their blood, sweat and tears so that students can catch a glimpse of God's goodness and grace. I've seen it in my own life.
Good Friend, you know who you are. Thanks for the conversation. Thanks for your faithfulness. And please accept my deepest apology.