A reflection by Mike Ellis – CACINA Seminarian

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                                                                      A Conversation With Jesus

                                                   A reflection by Mike Ellis – CACINA Seminarian


“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak . . .   the man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled . . .Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God . . .’ ”  Genesis  32:24-25,28 (NIV)


It had been one of those conversations that just goes on and on.  You think you’re done with it, and then, discovering there’s another piece of it, something left unsaid, unprocessed and unredeemed, it resurfaces, intruding on your day, your mind, your heart, and your relationship.

In my case, it was further complicated because this was a conversation I was having, or at least attempting to have, with Jesus.  And it seemed it just wouldn’t end.  Either he or I just couldn’t let go of it and move on.  Not yet, anyway.

Finally, exhausted and depressed, I gave up.  “Ok Lord, I’ll apologize to her.”, I said.  “Even though my intentions were good – you’re my witness – and she clearly overreacted, threatening to quit our volunteer group because either what I said or the way I said it hurt her feelings (how childish!), I’ll bite the bullet, be the bigger person, and somehow find some way of apologizing to her that doesn’t offend my own sense of integrity.  Now can we just move on?”

But still it didn’t work.  He wasn’t having it.  And all my sincere pleas for him to quiet my unrest, to grant me peace, and to “return to me the joy of my salvation”, seemed to fall flat. He wouldn’t let it be.  He wouldn’t let me be.

I was Christ-haunted.

I had experienced Jesus this way before.  It usually started with some realization of vulnerability on my part, and, when that was not easily or readily processed by me, it progressed to anxiety.  It was then that I would start talking to Jesus about it, and he would usually relieve me of it pretty quickly, sometimes in ways that seemed quite miraculous, both in their method and timing. (I mean, the stories I could tell!  Really!)

But every once in awhile, he would respond differently.  We’d go deeper, both into my brokenness and our conversation about my brokenness.  And even though I was learning that he would walk with me through it, that we would eventually come out of it (we always had before), and that he would leave me with a deeper sense of belonging to him, I have to say I actually dreaded those times.  They were hard on me, mostly because I wasn’t actually sure I would come out of it.

This was one of those times, and it went on and on.


It ended, finally, with this exchange:

Him: “Forget, forgive, love and laugh.”

Me:   “I’ll try.”

Him: “Don’t let anything that anybody does to you change the way you treat them.  Love everybody I send your way.”

Me:     “I honestly don’t know how to do that.  I just don’t feel that way towards everybody.”

Him:   “Then treat them as you would treat me.”

Me:     “Ok. . . That helps. . . (long pause) But they don’t always act like you.”

Him :  “I know. . . (equally long pause) Will you just do this for me?”

Me:      (heart-pierced) “For you?  Yes.”

            (then, after a very long pause)  . . . “I can be pompous sometimes.”

Him:   (silence)

Me:    “This apology, it’s . . .”

Him:   “ . . .my way of keeping you close to me.”

Me:     (suddenly tearful)  “. . . your way of keeping me close to you.”

“Israel is the name of everyone who has been made lame by God.”  Elie Wiesel


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