I called my sister today… again. She didn’t answer. She never does. Even so, every time I call there is a part of me that thinks maybe… just maybe, this will be the time she picks up the phone and talks with me. Thanksgiving marked the 2 year anniversary of our last conversation. November 2009, I visited my family for a week in Brentwood, Tennessee for the first time since my move to Ottertail, Minnesota in July 2008. All week long, I really wanted to spend some one-on-one time with my sister, but that never happened. I was pretty disappointed, but I resolved not to say anything to her about it. I decided that I’d just try to enjoy my time there. Although, it was great to see my family, Thanksgiving was awkward and unusual. During dinner, we mostly sat in silence as my sister’s strange boyfriend monopolized the conversation with talk of communism. Afterwards, we watched a comedian on DVD, and before it was finished, I went upstairs to pack my bag because I had an early flight to catch the following morning.
While I was packing, my sister came up to say goodbye to me. I hugged her and said goodbye. Then she said something like, “I don’t know why, but I know that you’re mad at me.” So, I was honest with her. I told her that I wasn’t mad, but that I was disappointed we didn’t get to spend any time together. It had been over a year since we’d seen each other and I didn’t know how long it would be before I’d be able to come back for another visit. She responded in anger, and using some very colorful language, she proceeded to relay a list of perceived offenses that I had no idea she’d been collecting all week. It was a series of misunderstandings, mostly the result of over-analyzing and reading into things. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I was unable to convince her that I never intended to bother or upset her. We haven’t talked since. Honestly, we didn’t talk with each other very often even when we were on good terms. When I moved to Ottertail, it was the result of my decision to place my relationship with God above all others and follow Him anywhere. He led me to Firestarters to be part of a wonderful community of creative people who are in passionate pursuit of Christ. At around the same time, my sister started proclaiming to be an atheist. This was when the drifting began, the start of an ever-growing gulf between us.
I love my sister and I really miss her. I miss the days when we could talk to each other about anything. I miss all the quirky little inside jokes that would make us laugh. I miss having fun together and being just plain silly. She seems so changed – like a completely different person than the girl I lived with most of my life. We’re practically strangers now. I really miss the girl that I once knew. But no matter how much my sister has changed, I don’t believe that she’s completely gone. She still exists. She’s still in there somewhere – even though I haven’t seen her in a while. This afternoon, as I hung up the phone after calling and leaving her another message, I thought about all of this. I thought about how difficult it is sometimes to keep reaching out and trying to reconnect when I don’t know if it matters to her. I don’t know if it makes any difference. Frankly, it’s heartbreaking; but I refuse to give up.
Then I thought about Jesus. I thought about how this pure, flawless man experienced more hurt and rejection than I could ever come close to fully understanding. I thought about the pain that He must feel every time someone misunderstands Him, gets offended and turns away. About how much He longs for relationship, and how it must break His heart over and over again, every time that He reaches out in perfect love only to be ignored once more. Then I thought about how relentless he is in His love. He always hopes and perseveres. He is infinitely faithful and longsuffering. He never gives up. He never quits reaching out and calling His loved ones to come back into communion with Him.
Again… I called my sister today. She didn’t answer, so I left her a message. I don’t expect her to call me back, because she never does. Even so, there is a part of me that thinks maybe… just maybe, this time will be different. Maybe… just maybe, this will be the time that she returns my call. Some may read this and call it foolish. I call it hope – and I refuse to give up.