I’ve been thinking lately about support networks.
Today, as I type this entry that I hope I will be able to post, I’m waiting for a response from the WordPress support team, as I cannot connect to my blog or my blog’s dashboard. I get this long delay where my computer is supposedly “connecting….” and then I get nothing. Dead.
You know, technology imitates life.
My sister, Boo, is going through H E double hockey sticks lately. As are my dear friends R and D. Both of these women are undergoing the pain of estrangement and infidelity: D’s divorce is completed, but she now has to grieve a loss of dreams a relationship of two decades generated. And R called me late last night, in the most nakedly, emotionally-gashed open state I’ve ever, in the 22 years of our friendship, known her to be. Her divorce will be final in a couple weeks. Boo is enduring the complex of horrific health issues, the consequent unemployment, and an abusively manipulative infidelity. All three of these women have called me at all hours, just to cry. And I encourage this, because I believe irrevocably that life doesn’t stop at a reasonable hour. We need support when the ambush overtakes us, not the next morning over coffee. So when R called me at midnight, and then when Boo called me this morning at 2am (11pm her time), I thought nothing of it. This isn’t a common occurrence, but ambushes happen, and they needed (we all need) somebody outside of the chaos to process with. Unfortunately, when it rains, it pours.
When R called, I was on the phone with another friend M, processing my own “how in the heck will I ever be able to come to a place of peace with my hyper-fundamentalist mother who told me I’m sickening and disgusting for being gay” issues. And before that, M was processing with other parts of her support network how to deal with this latest complication with her chronic illness.
All of this pre-ramble leads to this.
Often in my life, when trying to connect, I find a long delay, then silence. I try another tactic, only to fail again. And again. And again. My prayers seem not only unanswered, but unanswerable, simply because they’re not getting through. Then I feel an emotional “error message”, that informs me that the prayer cannot be displayed because I am not connected properly or I’ve addressed it improperly. If I could only fix whatever error, I could get through, and receive that high-speed, digital reassurance that all is well.
But in truth, I know the WordPress support guy is working on the problem, even though I can’t see what he’s doing. And even though I see no results, I know something’s going on. And even though the silence seems interminable, God is also working on restoring the connection. And in truth, whatever the problem is, it’s not my fault. In fact, in the latter case, it’s probably no problem at all, just impatience. To look for blame is to go outside the reasonable.
And then I think about how the connection is made. For my little computer in Indiana to reach WordPress in California, I have to be routed via many servers, until eventually my little data bits reach San Francisco. Without these servers (routers), there truly would be no connection.
In Christ, we are servants, servers. And it is we who enable connections. Only in this network, we connect both by being the server and by using a server. R and D and Boo have been there many, many times for me, and by serving, they demonstrated the love that binds us together, connecting me and my easily confused emotions with the truth of Christ. And when I am there for them, the same happens for them. Only, when I stop to think about it, even if the server seems far from the master, even if the server is itself receiving no data, the fact that data is flowing through it shows that connection. When, these past few weeks, I have felt alone and distanced from my support, I need but think of how much grace has flowed through me, how much love spoken to me in my role as server, to be reminded that even as I operate most often as server right now, and even though I don’t see any connection for my own little personal chaos site, still it is there, evidenced by phone calls in the middle of the night, and kind words on others’ blogs.