To be honest, I was a little worried about my meeting. From what little I knew about Robb, he seemed like a good guy. I was a little scared to just dump all of my problems on him. I was scared how he would react. But I was most scared that my anger would get the best of me and that I would just end up yelling at him and not get any resolution about my anger.
So I took a few days to think about why I was actually angry. What was it that was causing me to be so mad? As I thought about it, I was able to pinpoint exactly what was bothering me and why it had caused me to become so enraged. That way I was hoping I could accurately (and nicely) express everything that was bothering me without jumping down Robb's throat.
As we greeted each other and shook hands, I sent up a silent but fervent prayer that I would be able to express myself fully and completely while at the same maintaining most of my composure.
After exchanging cordial pleasantries, I could see by the look on his face that I had completely taken him off guard when he asked me how I was doing and my simple but direct reply was "I'm very upset."
After inquiring as to why I was so upset, I told him that I realized that he was fairly new to the neighborhood and to this position and that I hoped that he didn't take anything that I was about to say too personally, but that I had a lot on my mind and in my heart that was making me angry. And then I let it go.
While I wasn't quite yelling, my voice was loud and full of anger.
I recounted our story. How Nathan was now 10 months old and had spent a total of 6 months in the hospital, including his first 4 1/2 months. How during that time no one from the congregation, and in particular the congregational leadership, had ever been up to the hospital to check on Nathan. To see how he was. To see how we were doing.
I asked him if he knew how lonely it was to spend what seemed like all of your time at the hospital, wondering if your child was ever going to be able to live a normal life, or even to spend more than 5 weeks out of the hospital at any given time.
Did he know what it's like to feel like you have to go through all of that alone because either people don't know, or don't care, or they're too busy, or whatever other reason?
Did he know what it's like to feel like your a second-class member of the congregation? Do you have to be in the congregational leadership to experience an outpouring of love? To have people come and visit you in the hospital?
I explained that I understood that it may be inconvenient to have to travel a long distance to see Nathan in the hospital, but is that what we were? Were we an inconvenience?
I said that I know it's an hour to drive up there and an hour to drive back. And if you choose to stay a decent amount of time that's probably another hour. I explained that I realized that 3 hours in a day can be hard to arrange, but finding 3 hours in one day out of 6 months.....no one can do that?
I mentioned that our apartment is only a 5 minute walk away. And still no one could find time to stop by and take a few minutes to sit down with us and find out how we're doing?
Or is it because we come to church services every week that people think we're doing all right? Do we need to stop coming to church in order to have the congregational leadership know that we were having spiritual and emotional needs and struggles? Is that what we had come to?
I don't know how long my tirade went on, but I felt a little better getting everything out there in the open.
I'm sure Robb felt overwhelmed with everything I had just laid on his shoulders. But to me, his reaction will forever be priceless.
He didn't get angry. He didn't tell me how horrible I was for having these feelings. He didn't call me to repent. He never got defensive.
Instead, he just looked me in the eyes and very sincerely apologized and said that I was right. They should have done better. He should have done better. He should have been more involved. He should have done something.
And then he apologized and asked me to forgive him. And promised me that he would do better.
I was in complete awe at the humility of this great man.
His attitude and response completely melted away my anger. I knew that he cared. I knew that he was sorry. And that's exactly what my heart needed that day.
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