I was on the top of a mountain. I went to the Northwest School of Theology conference. It was the last full day. I hadn’t said much until this point. But my passion was stirred. My spirit was heavy. So much energy in the room. I spoke. Some congratulations followed.
Then another moment to speak a little while later. I knew the time was coming. I had prepared something. I almost didn’t share it because it seemed more serious than what others had shared and I didn’t want to be the person to shut down the party. But at the last minute I decided to share what I wrote and leave it in God’s hands. The reaction was overwhelming. I had to turn away.
I’ve experienced this before two or three times. It’s difficult to describe but it’s like I’m not even in the room when it happens. It’s like my mind can’t really take it all in and understand it. I’m there but I’m not seeing everything and I can’t remember much afterward. Only bits and pieces.
I remember a lot of people talking to me in a congratulatory way. I remember someone I know giving me a hug. I remember someone saying I am a theologian. I remember one of the speakers, Brad Jersak, saying he wanted to put what I wrote on a blog: http://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/2018/09/never-give-up-by-sarah-nyhan.html
So I was really pleased. It seemed like all the struggles of the past year were paying off in a sense. I felt like God helped me to communicate the comfort with which He has comforted me. And hope. Especially hope.
My expectations were that maybe I’d finally reached the top and it would be all downhill driving from here. Not a fall but more like smooth sailing. I was pretty disappointed when faced with problems soon after. The very next day in fact. More than blowing a tire on the interstate on the way home at 3am after my flight was delayed over two hours, the real disappointment was in sharing my excitement with others outside the group and receiving little to no response.
It was good in the sense that it humbled me. I’m afraid of becoming prideful and ruining everything. Having my mountain top experience during the conference and then nobody outside of the conference really giving a flip about what I said afterward was great for keeping my feet planted firmly on the ground.
At the same time I felt frustrated and disappointed. I feel most times like I have the best news on the planet and nobody wants to hear it. I feel like I have invitations to the best party in town and nobody wants to go. Jesus talked about this also. So I’m in the best company.
It was also interesting to think about why the reactions are so different. God is not weak. Think of all the stories. If He wanted to, He could make this all known in such a way that people would hear it and see it. Why doesn’t He do that?
All I can think of is that the not knowing leads people to seek Him in the process of trying to figure out life and themselves. So again I am faced with the new perspective that knowing the right answers isn’t the main point. The main point is relationship.
Maybe some of these people aren’t at the place where they are ready to hear what I have to say? Not that I as a person am better. But in some ways I think WHERE I am is better. In other words, it is what it is and that’s ok either way.
It’s just such a mental trip to see something so clearly and put it in front of someone else and they have no idea what you are talking about. They don’t see what the big deal is.
It reminds me of “the dress” that went viral awhile ago. Some people swore it was black and blue. Others swore it was white and gold. How can we both be correct and be so different? Or the yanny/laurel phenomenon?
I read once that the color blue doesn’t even exist in nature. It is only our eyes that see it based on the filters we have for the light that we see. Or that’s my understanding at least.
In like manner, I read somewhere that people with blue eyes like my own see shades of colors differently than others. Maybe that’s why sunsets and shades of blue resonate so deeply with me when others could care less.
All to say it seems like the same applies spiritually. I have to come to the place where I don’t need anyone else to validate what I am saying. Where it’s ok if nobody gets it. Where I can be happy and let others be where they are in this adventure.
Yet share anyway. Still open my heart. Still be available. Not get bitter or discouraged. This is all so much bigger than me. My identity and value cannot be wrapped up in what I share or who cares about it.
Let others be. Trust God with the details.
Not everything I wanted to say on this. Or the way I wanted to say it. But life calls…
A picture is worth a thousand words. I’ll end with a meme and a quote a friend shared with me. She’s the only one outside of the conference who seemed to understand and share my joy.