Digging deeper into grace (06/20/2018)

As I write my final column for this paper and prepare to say my goodbye to Colusa, I want to say two things to you: THANK YOU and I AM SORRY.

THANK YOU. It has been a great joy to me to live in this community and to raise my children here amidst the support and encouragement and opportunities they experienced. I was welcomed warmly into this community. I have enjoyed friendships with wonderful people here. I have had the joy of working with some very caring people. And my heart has been deeply touched by many kind words that many of you have spoken to me or written to me. From the depth of my heart, I say to you, THANK YOU!

I AM SORRY. I am stunned by the number of people who have expressed to me how much I have meant to them. I am grateful for these comments, but they also make me aware of how many opportunities I missed out on. Because of my own insecurities, I held back many times when it might have meant something to a person if I had reached out more. I think of times when I could have listened more, but I feared I’d be wasting the person’s time. I am conscious of times I could have called a person up but feared being intrusive. I remember times when I wish I had passed along words of gratitude, praise, or affirmation but feared my words would sound stupid. I think of people I could have befriended but supposed they had better friends than I could be. Too many times I shrank back rather than stepping out.

Larry Crabb describes me well when he writes, “We protect our wounds with all the fierceness of a lioness watching over her cubs. And because it is nearly impossible to see who we are as separate from these wounds, we think we are protecting our selves when in fact we are preserving our wounds.”

I wish I had heeded the advice of Barbara de Angelis: “You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.”

Many times l lost by holding back.

Jorgen Roed puts it this way: “In all people there are two sets of feelings: One is fear; the other is love. If there is fear, then we shrink as a person. But love, wow! That can move mountains.” I wish that I had shrunk less and moved mountains more.

Charles Morgan writes, “There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is God’s finger on a person’s shoulder!” I wish that I had been involved in more magic by reaching out more, by loving more, by being the touch of God on a person’s shoulder.

Saint Irenaeus claims, “The glory of God is man [or a person] fully alive!” The more I shrunk back, the more I missed out on being “fully alive.” I wonder how “glorious” it might have been if I had stepped out more and been more “fully alive”?

I will close with the wisdom of Morrie Schwartz and Mitch Albom from Tuesdays with Morrie:

“Morrie smiled.

“‘Mitch, you asked about caring for people I don’t even know. But can I tell you the thing I’m learning most with this disease?’

“What’s that?

“‘The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.’

“His voice dropped to a whisper. ‘Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love, we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levine said it right. He said, “Love is the only rational act.”’

“He repeated it carefully, pausing for effect. ‘Love is the only rational act.’”. ■

—Tom Tripp is the Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa.

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Tom Tripp is the Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa. Pastor Tripp can be reached by e-mail at: tomtripp@frontiernet.net