Robert & Roberta Adair



Stories from Robert & Roberta Adair

Yesterday after church, we had some pretty strong wind and rain.  After hanging out with people for a while, Robert and I headed home.  Thankfully, we had shut most of our windows and not too much water came in the house.  Still, we had to wipe up a few places and hang a wet carpet.  And we realized that, wow, we didn’t have anywhere we had to be or any responsibilities on a Sunday afternoon.

Then I got bored (a word my mother abhors.  Hm…”I got itchy to spend time with people” might be mum-approved.)  I called a friend to see if she was still nearby.  I then joined her and 2 other friends at an “Art Café” in town – the first time for any of us to go there (…and I look forward to going back!).

Over coffee and waffles with vanilla ice cream (with a little rum flavor), we had a nice chat – about church, about community, and about caring for people in our faith community.  I didn’t catch everything (understatement of the week), but it seemed to me to be a really rich conversation.  And every once in awhile, I spoke up in broken, confusing, scrambly Japanese.  I had so many things I wanted to say – and I don’t know what I actually communicated.  But here’s what I tried/wanted/hoped to say:

About caring for someone younger and struggling: You ladies have so much to offer!  [note: nearly all of my friends do not think this.  they view themselves as weak and in need of receiving but not capable of giving.] You can listen to this girl, you can ask her questions, you can pray with and for her.  You can share areas that you’re weak in but have experienced God’s mercy and patience.  You can spend time with her.  It won’t be easy and it will likely take a ton of time to gain her trust.  But you can do it.  You have the Holy Spirit as your guide; you have other people to support you… We each need older sisters to learn from and younger sisters to care for.  (I managed to stay sitting, but just barely.)

About honest relationships: For us to have real community, real friendships with one another, it’s important for us to take our masks off.  We need to see the good and the bad – we need to share the good and the bad.  We don’t have to do this with everyone, but everyone needs a few people to truly know and be truly be known by [and, yes, this is possible and beautiful even in Japan!].  As we share our pasts, our fears, our sins, and our dreams, we get to know each others’ real selves – and not just the “selves” we want others to see.

I don’t remember who brought it up, but one of the women said that this happened at a Bible study several months ago – when masks came down,  when we shared our Deep Ugly and received grace and prayer…  Yes, I think we felt almost too vulnerable after that night.  But the myth of perfection was damaged (even if not destroyed).

About approachability:  Maybe some people in church have really squeaky pasts.  Maybe some of them/us can and can’t handle hearing about others’ brokenness.  But how can our faith community welcome people who don’t have it all together?  Like my friend who is a single mom of four?  Or like another friend who has 3 kids from 3 different dads?  Or other people who have been cheated on by their spouses or who have been the cheater?  Or those estranged from their parents or kids?  Or the people with (all sorts of) brokenness?  (or me with my anger, fear, selfishness, arrogance, insecurity, etc. issues?)  How will we be a community that welcomes people who need Jesus?  Not by acting perfect, being un-relatable, and looking like masked Stepford wives who have it all together but by being real, honest, firm, caring, gracious community.

What did I probably communicate?  My guess is this is what my friends heard: “Roberta has really strong opinions and ideas about stuff, but all I understood was Darrrrrrr!  Good thing!  Bad thing!  This is important!”

So…this just turned into a prayer request blog – for language, for community, and for (for lack of a better word) empowerment.

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