From Tracie: Tea with L and W

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tea with L and W

A couple of weeks ago, Melissa sent me a copy of the book Tea with Hezbollah. I was excited to get it, and immediately sat down and started reading. Usually I finish a book in a day or maybe two….but that evening the stomach flu hit my house and for the next week, reading was the farthest thing from my mind. The day that I probably would have gotten back to reading, my mother-in-law called to say that she and her husband would be arriving the next day to spend the week with us (nothing like a little notice, right?). We had a busy week with them, and once again, I didn’t get back to the book.

Why have I shared the history of me not reading this book? It is because of what happened on yesterday.....but to understand yesterday I will have to take you back a few years.....

Come, enter the time machine with me.....

My husband and I are working at a church that is going through a time of great transition. There was unbelievable stress in our lives. From day to day, we didn't know if we would have jobs or a place to live (since our apartment was part of the job-when the job ended, so did our housing).  It is a time that I don’t often talk about in specifics with anyone, probably because when I am alone in the dark with my thoughts, I know it is a time I haven’t completely healed from, or found much understanding about.

For the purpose of this story I will tell you about one couple, W and L. They were a family that Thomas had felt were his close friends for years, and when we got married I became friends with them, as well. There were times after that, when they had been supportive of us, and been there during very important times (and we had been there during important times in their lives as well). There were a lot of good times and good memories.

To be completely honest about this couple I have to say that W had a special testimony about his coming to Christ, but other than that he was very quiet and I never felt that I really knew him. And L was someone who was fun to spend time with, and she could be very nice. But I was always conscious that she had a very sharp tongue concerning other people when they weren’t around to hear it, so in some ways I never fully let my guard down around her.

I am not going to go into great detail about what all happened – that would be more of a book than a blog post. It is enough to say that W and L betrayed us. They treated us okay to our faces (not even really nice by this point, just okay...and by the end of things, not even okay, really). Behind our backs, L was talking bad about us, and I would say, conspiring against us. When Thomas and I look back at this time in our lives he has always pinpointed certain people who hurt him…but for me it was W and L. For me, the actions of everyone else paled compared to what they did to us.

A few months ago I joined facebook, and inevitably I have friends in common with L. I was in shock when I went to my computer one morning, and found a friend request from her. Really? Really, you think we are friends, L? After everything that you and W did to my family you think that we could even be “facebook friends”?

I moved from shock to furious, and spent the whole day composing messages in my head that I was going to send to her, before I denied her request. I even told Thomas that I was sad that the only options facebook provided me were “accept” or “deny”. I said that I was looking for the “HELL NO” option! Thomas told me to hit deny, not give her any message, and move on. He was surprised at the level of reaction I was having.

It took me two days and lots of erased messages before I took his advice. I felt I had overcome and was moving forward. I put her out of my mind.

Occasionally I would see comments from her on posts from mutual friends, and I would experience a tightening in my chest (let me be honest here folks, just seeing her name and picture angered me. I had in no way moved forward) but I had learned to keep my anger to myself, because Thomas wanted nothing to do with it.

Let’s hop back in our time machine and take a look at Monday...

I saw on facebook that a friend had gotten married. It was fun to look at all the pictures of her and her family. And there, at the end of her picture album, was the one and only picture that had non-family members in it.

There it was, a picture of L.

I wanted to scream. I was sitting there in the quiet, at 6:30 in the morning, angry at a person who obviously had put what she had done out of her mind and was not suffering in the least over it. I clicked on her name, and looked through all of her pictures……and heckled. There I was, full blown anger at this woman.

I had a list of things that I needed to get done that morning before my family woke up, and instead of accomplishing even one of them, I sat there in my anger and seethed. After I finished snooping through her pictures, I was still paralyzed in my anger, unable to concentrate on my important to do list. I wasted that morning completely.

That night, our internet went down (judgment anyone?) For three days our internet wouldn't work! Frustration does not describe what I was feeling! I was behind on things from the day before, and now I couldn’t do anything! I looked over at my side table and saw the book Melissa had sent me. At least I would get to finish that book. I perked up and started reading. Very interesting stuff. Ted Dekker and a friend go on a trip through the Middle East interviewing people from Hezbollah and Hamas (they even found a Samaritan) to find out what people thought about this teaching of Jesus – to Love Your Neighbor, the Parable of the Samaritan. What, if anything, does it mean to Christians, Jews, and Muslims living in the Middle East today?

By the last chapter of the book, I found myself having a realization. Here were all of these people discussing loving your neighbor. The history of it, the practicality of it, the importance of it. I was thinking about the revolutionary thought of what this country would be like if people took it upon themselves to love people from the Middle East – irregardless of their religion.

Them...BAM!!!!! hit me! I saw L’s face in my mind. I realized, here I was contemplating the love of people regardless of their religion while I was actively hating someone who doesn't just share my “religion”, but had also, at one time, been my friend.

I realized that no matter what she had done to me, it was my choice to choose love and move forward. It doesn’t mean that I want to start a relationship with her…even on facebook, because the truth is that I'm not sure she is trustworthy, and I don’t need any drama in my life – but I should be able to see her name without going into a tailspin of anger and depression. I should be able to wish the best for her and her family……in honesty. When I am alone in the dark, I should be able to have moved on from this situation that started three years ago and live in today. No matter what she did to my family, we love each other and we are strong and we survived that time.

I no longer want to be a person who was so hurt in a church, that I wouldn't feel able to visit there sometime in the future because of the hate in my heart. So today, I am making the choice to move on. I do wish her and her family well. I hope that they are happy and blessed. I choose love.


  1. Hurray for you letting God have the victory in this matter :) Thanks for sharing as well!

  2. Wow. Just wow.
    It is amazing to me the divine appointments God sets up for each of us. We can run, hide, and try to ignore the truth of His word but it will always makes its way to our heart one way or another.
    I heard someone explain once that when God speaks he does so in a whisper and so we have to be listening closely to hear it. But, if we ignore it long enough or don't listen carefully enough He will sometimes throw a brick to get our attention.
    So the moral is...listen for the whisper and watch out for the brick!
    Thankfully is sounds like you were listening!

  3. Great story. I think most of us can relate to it in some similiar way. This is stuff I have to continually work on. Good job in allowing yourself to be where you are and moving in the direction of where you want to be.