My family had just settled into our menus around a square table when I spotted friends out of the corner of my eye, coming through the front door of the restaurant. A family I hadn’t seen since the church split three months ago. Our eyes met. I stood up in response to the smile that spread across her face. And swallowed the lump in my throat.

She reached her arms around me and said, “I just caught up on your blog posts today so I feel like I’m all caught up on Shelly.” I shook my head and smiled through her chuckles.

It’s becoming more common for me now and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to it; the gift of someone reading my words and then letting me know about it. It’s humbling. And in cases like this: healing.

A few weeks after that brief encounter, I sat behind the wheel of my van on the way to pick up my son from school, feeling the ambient light warm up my face as I slowed toward the stop light. I thought about what she said to me, how she felt caught up on my life and we hadn’t seen one another in three months. Our sons had each grown a foot taller.

I scrolled through similar conversations in my mind. Some while leaning on the handles of shopping carts among the produce or standing behind the trunk of my car. Over lattes at Starbucks and seated next to strangers in pews, I thought about how often I’d heard the echo, sometimes from people I’d just met.

And I told God, as tall palms blurred past, how ironic that is for me. How quiet my life is now, how little I feel known by anyone in my community. “Why is that,” I asked Him.

“They read my words too and they feel like they know me,” He said. “I am a man of sorrows.”

I bent over the rail of my loneliness, the altar strewn with questions beginning “why”.  And He answers each one the same way. “I know you.”

Sometimes community fits perfectly in the empty room of our wondering and we learn from the fullness of its silence. That we’re only truly known by an audience of One.


But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. Isaiah 53:3, MSG

Linking with Ann and counting thanks over the way God speaks when I least expect it. That He is often silent but never still in His love for us. Also in community with Laura, Michelle, Jen and Heather.