A pastoral note to an early, middle-aged widow who had just announce her engagement to be remarried, names and certain other details have been changed to protect confidentiality:
I’m sorry I didn’t respond as soon as I received you letter. I intended to, but it has been an unexpectly hectic week or so. I really do appreciate your writing to tell me about this difficulties that have arisen as folks have reacted to your engagement to Phil. It must be painful to you, and I expect you must feel more than a little isolated by the unsupportive responses of people so close to you.
For myself, I think it is a very wonderful thing that God is giving you and Phil. I am very happy for you. You’ve had more than enough hard things to deal with over the years. And although I’m sure God has used even those hard things in your life to work out his good purposes in you, I’m glad to see something so good and happy as your marriage to Phil come to you. I’m sad that your family (in which I would certainly include Donna [her former mother-in-law]) has not shared that happiness with you. I will be praying that they will express a more generous spirit toward you. And, as you say in your letter, I also am confident that they will in time. It does, I suppose, require something of an adjustment for them. Change in families is usually hard — even good changes.
I’m impressed by your ability to look beyond the initial negative reactions to your marriage to Phil. But I’m not really surprised. One of the things those past hard experiences have produced in you over the years is a very generous and charitable spirit. Be patient with your family, and in time they too will come to share your happiness.
Despite a bit of a wrong turn a little while back, you are on the right path — the path of God’s blessing. Tell me how I can be a help to you and Phil. I look forward to getting to know him better and to welcoming him into the family at the church.
© 2009 Gary A. Chorpenning