I invited a friend to church this week. I have tried for some time to get her to come with me. I try not to nag her, because back when we were teenagers and she attended church every week (although when I would go with her because I had stayed the previous night at her house, it always seemed as if it was against her will) she never tried to “convert” me and she usually point that out to me when I invite her. So this last time when I invited her, I genuinely believed that it was a service that she would get something out of. She is Catholic, but she does not go to church. I know that her Dad tries to get her to come and I know what she says about that. I invite her anyway. I have known for a long time that she is angry at God. I understand that. I also know that it is okay to be angry at God. Just like everyone else that you get angry at, I feel that unless you confront them with what you are angry about you will never get over that anger.
So this week, I invited her again. In the past she has always said things like “I’ll think about it” or “I have to work” or “I really don’t feel well” or her husband “is going to be home and I have not seen him for a while” not exact quotes but things along those lines. Which even when it was a possibility I never received a “Yes” before so I tried not to hold much hope about it. OBVIOUSLY evangelism is not my thing.
This time was different. I invited and she said that she would have to check the work schedule for the weekend. The next day I spoke to her and she said YES! She came over that night and we had a great visit but I also feared that because she is angry at God, my enthusiasm would scare her off. I know that sounds weird but you would have to understand this friend of mine.
Before she came over, we had been talking on the phone and she asked me “What are you expecting from this? From me going to church with you?” and when she asked she said that I really should not have to think about it. Luckily I really didn’t. I told her that, everything in my life that I have enjoyed I have always tried to share with her. This was not different, especially now since this is such a big part of my life. It is the center of it. She asked if I was going to expect her to join me on a regular basis and I told her that I highly doubted she would because our schedules are so different but if it she got enough out it – it would not matter and she can come during any service she wanted with her children and husband. I also told her that I know how she feels about God right now and how she is angry with him and that maybe this will shed a new light and if nothing else, because she is still Catholic – maybe one day if someone asks her about it, she will know that this is different from the way she was taught and maybe direct them to us so that we can help them take their next step. Her reaction “Oh – you want to use me as a recruiter” she was laughing and said she was kidding and that she understood. Still, she said she would join me.
She came over, we had a great visit. She went home. I spoke to her the next afternoon at 1:30 and reminded her that church starts at 5:30. Something in her voice made me wonder, but she said she was coming and that she would probably have her oldest daughter with her. Which is great, she had been there before. I had great hope. My family and I arrived early in the hopes of being able to meet her when she walked in the door – it is a big church – so that she would not have to hunt us down. At 5:22 I called her house. Her oldest daughter picked up the phone, told me she was sleeping and was not feeling well. I simply asked her to tell her Mom I called and would talk to her later. I know she has been having some issues with her health lately, I do not doubt that she was not feeling well…however, I must say – I was crushed. I simply want to share with my friend what makes me the happiest I have ever been. I want her to be this happy. I wish I weren’t so affected by her not coming. Inviting people to church is so hard for me, so out of my comfort zone. How do you try again when it hurts so bad when your efforts seem to fail?