Friday, October 14

Letter to a Pastor

Dear Roger,

I’d have loved for this letter to be in my veryownpersonal handwriting, but since it’s two days until the good people assembling this book require its arrival, I’m sending it in email. Just know that my tardiness in response does not reflect my level of respect; I always tended to finish typing papers an hour before they were due. Yes, typing. On a typewriter. It was the 80s, after all.

The years I spent at Campus House, from the second Sunday I arrived until the Sunday I graduated, were years that most closely resembled the first century church for me. I know you’ve heard, “Campus House spoiled me FOREVER” a thousand times. But, everyone who says it truly means it. For me, it was an actual community of believers that lived near one another (in my case, in the other rooms in the Girls' House on First St. and in the original Guys' house on Russell), ate together, prayed together, knew one another’s business, studied together, danced together, and sat on the kitchen floor and laughed together. In fact, you’d have thought there were no sofas in the house if you’d wandered in the front door any random night; we were constantly sitting on the linoleum in front of the fridge, the sink, and in many configurations on the steps leading to the landing and to the front hall. (There really were sofas, of course.)

That community pushed me to grow spiritually, emotionally, and socially. Oh, and sometimes academically, too. But even as much as community helped me grow, the thing that I carry with me the most strongly is some words from a sermon you delivered during my freshman year. You said, “The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is fear. And they cannot live in the same place.”

It’s one of those things that you know is true immediately, but keeps proving its truth over time. At first, it occurs to you that maybe this person you’re dealing with in the workplace isn’t standoffish as much as she’s afraid. “Hmmm, maybe she’s worried I won’t think she’s capable.” So you approach her from a different vantage point, and try work things out. And you do.

Later, you’re able to apply it to your immediate family, “Wow, maybe my brother isn’t just acting rude, maybe he’s hiding a fear.” So you approach him with the idea that maybe you can assuage his fear in some way, and the two of you can become closer eventually. And you do.

And after that, maybe years later, it occurs to you that maybe YOU are the one who is afraid. Maybe you are the one who is displaying anger or bravado when none is warranted. And you think about the truth you’ve been taught. Then you realize that you, yourself, can choose between love and fear.

Choosing a path of love is a discipline developed over time.

Every decision is made from a position of love or from a position of fear. When you have Christ, the source of love, inside your soul, it is actually possible to choose love. Because of the Scripture and how you presented it, I was given the knowledge to begin the path of consciously choosing love when I was only 18. Thank you for being His servant and for loving the students as you did when you delivered that message. That message changed the way I live. It will continue to change me over the course of my lifetime as the Lord strengthens me to choose love every time, even when it hurts.

Thank you.

Brilliant, sparkly, delicious blessings on you and Lana as you both enter a new phase of life!

With love and laughter,
Stacey
Has Been, 1991

1 comment:

christ*el #3tx said...

you are amazing. so so so glad you are in my life.

 
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