She’s been coming to our church for several years now, but I don’t know her well. I’ve talked with her several times, trying to draw out more than one-word answers, trying to find a subject that makes her come alive, but I still don’t know her beyond what her resume’ might tell. I think I make her nervous, or maybe it’s that I’m overbearing, so I give her space to find her way.
I invite her to our women’s day retreat, not because I’m the pastor’s wife and am filling some quota, not because I’m teaching and want a huge crowd, not because it’s something to talk about when I see her at church. I invite her because I see that look in her eye: the look of being an outsider, the look of isolation, the look of being contentedly closed off but also deathly afraid to stay that way. I invite her because I want to know her and I want others to know her. I want her to experience community that, in reality, is well within her reach. I invite her because it seems we’re playing some sort of game of jumping in, hesitating, and then jumping back out, and it feels like a fear filled charade.
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