Thursday, May 2, 2013


I thought I had gotten past it, that time had healed the wounds.  But all it took was seeing her, and the anger burned.  How could she so smugly be going about her normal life with a smile,  when inside I seethed with rage from the hurt she had caused?  I'm not sure which is worse--that she initiated our crushing blow through her position in the church, or that I, a Christian and a minister, still find the offense too great to forgive.  Yes, I thought I had forgiven (even though forgiveness was never sought, nor likely understood to be required).  I had said the prayers, done the self-reflection work, and allowed years of time to move on.  Our family is even grateful for the new opportunities that walking away from that situation offered.  And yet scars are a powerful thing.  Even when (especially when) they're unseen, close to the heart.  It's kind of like in Harry Potter--his scar sears when he is close or connected to Lord Voldemort.  It's like an evil wait, that's the pain talking.  It's like a sensor reminding me of baggage I'm still needlessly carrying.

I heard the saying once that holding a grudge is like eating rat poison and expecting someone else to die.  The truth is that it eats away at us until we slowly die on the inside.  We become hardened, shriveled up, bitter souls.  I don't want that.  I am one that aims to offer light and hope to others...and I so desperately want that for myself.  I want to find my worth in God's love and not in the opinions of others (whether favorable or deplorable).  I seek to love without judgment just as I hope for that from others.

I don't live in a fairy tale world and I know that not every experience will be pleasant and not every encounter will result in friendship.  I will not always be liked or accepted.  But I want to reach out in spite of my fear and hurt, I want to take the risk to be part of community.  I also know that while many, like my family, have been hurt by the church, this is not what Church really is about.  We have found a healthy congregation where we are welcomed and can, in turn, welcome others in God's love.  We have been challenged to grow, connect, and serve.  And now the greatest challenge for me is to finally let go.  When I run into people who trigger the memories (as is inevitable in the town), may I remember the growth and strength (and even joy) that has come from that season instead of the anger and pain.  I want to understand way down deep where the hurt resides that "scars remind us where we've been.  They don't have to dictate where we're going."*

May we be moving ever forward and ever outward.

*(this quote is attributed to the tv show "Criminal Minds")

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