i realized today that in my entire life i have never forgiven.
i mean TRULY seriously forgiven. yea when someone says something hurtful you forgive and forget and move on, and i can do that pretty fast... but when it comes to the heart breaking stuff i have never experienced what it feels like to really forgive someone.
i went to mercy church this morning.
the reason i went was because after all thats happened this past 7 months, the time in which the process of me forgiving luke and moving on began and ended, i felt like i was ready. finally ready, ready to find forgiveness, love and closure.
this morning i took my daughters downtown, ate at lineas and thought 'i'm going to mercy church.' for the first time i didn't get a knot in my stomach, i didnt feel the heart shattering pain run through my entire body, i didn't freeze up in anxiety, and i didn't second guess myself. i knew i was going and i knew it was right. i thought 'if i can finally be free of luke, if i really have forgiven him then i must be able to forgive the pages. i have to see if i really have moved on from this, in a real way.'
i wondered if all those painful feelings and all the tension would rush back into me when i drove up... if the hurt they caused would run through my mind over and over... if my hands would start shaking when i opened the door... but i knew inside none of that would happen. it didn't. i arrived in as much peace as i had when i decided that was my destination.
this day has been life changing for me. this may seem weird and unless you have been in this situation or one like it, you might not understand just how much this can affect a person. my ENTIRE life, all my views on love, forgiveness, god, christianity, people, EVERYTHING has been affected by this church, by this one family, for the past 4 years.
i didn't believe i was bitter until today, when the bitterness left.
i felt compassion on all the people in that room, on terry. i felt love, i felt peace for them. i saw them in a way i haven't seen them... maybe ever. for the first time i saw the goodness in terry's heart, i saw that he is doing a very good job at what he is trying to do and that he means it.
you know, they seem like a cult, and that didn't necessarily change in my mind... but i realized that to me pretty much all religion looks like a cult.. just not as extreme. yea mercy is a little more ridiculous when it comes to the structure, but maybe they're just really organized. no, i would NEVER want to do 'church' this way but i dont object that they do. i think actually in a lot of ways we agree, what they're doing, the way they pursue what they want, its something i want to do in my own life... i just dont relate it to jesus... and honestly jesus didn't really seem to be a big part of what they were doing anyway. he was kind of an afterthought. i think they could do exactly what they are doing, changing peoples lives and finding their version of success in life without jesus, actually a lot of people do. they just call it 'the secret' or 'the power of the mind' etc. all they are doing is believing, together. they come together focus on the same thing, speak words of encouragement and affirmation to and about themselves and each other and then live out of that. its a good thing. they find what they want because they have a vision for it, they see it and they all work towards it, those are good things. that they use jesus as the avenue is irrelevant to me, because it really doesn't matter how i think jesus should or shouldn't be used, he's not mine. anyone can use him anyway they want and its their hearts that matter.... whatever is true, whatever is right will be known someday, somehow... its not my place to determine and correct. i believe in justice and i believe we shouldn't hurt people, but i also believe that on the other side of that we should be careful about who we give that power to. who do we allow to have enough access to hurt us? and to hurt us so deeply? was it really their fault they hurt me? they were, after all, answering to their god. i shouldn't have given them so much power. it was an equally balanced teeter totter of pain.
for these people, this is life, this is real, this is hope. how can i look at them and say they are wrong? they aren't out to hurt people. i realized tonight that we are ALL going to hurt people, exclude people, write people off, when we exercise our right to live out what we believe is true. i hurt people emotionally, indirectly and unintentionally by thinking and therefore living the way i do. we all do. why are they worse? because they hurt me? that's ridiculous. being cut out of their lives is probably viewed differently by them than it is by me, but either way it makes sense that our lives just dont fit together and you know what? thats ok! its totally and completely ok. why did i have to let that mean so much to me?
people are people and we are bound to be hurtful, we are bound to be careless or wrong, we are bound to have an affect on each other good or bad. this is life, and this is good.
these people are doing what they dreamed. i wasn't a part of that dream, and that's what hurt me. but i dont even want to be a part of that dream... so why should i let that hurt me? and even if i allow myself to be hurt by it, why should i blame them? its not their fault i wasn't a part of that dream. yes there were other things that happened that i had to forgive, harsh words or misplaced reprimand, but those are small pebbles on a large road. they are nothing, they are no worse than anything else i have said.
so i saw those familiar faces, i saw jaws drop (literally) and stay open the entire time their eyes were upon me, but i saw love and i saw unity. and i took it all in. they took me in. they didn't scorn me, or judge me, or look at me with hate... yea a few of them were literally shaking while talking to me, they were very surprised to see me, and of course i could see the question in their eyes.. balancing my motives in their mind while i talked... but they welcomed me.
all in all it was one of the most important days of my life.
freedom reigns in my life today and the power of forgiveness has been made known to me. i know i am forever changed. i have been fighting in my mind for so long. to stand with terry and talk and feel nothing in my heart but true honest love and true honest forgiveness was something i have needed deeply.
i went, i didn't go up in flames in the midst of his sermon, and i actually put out flames in my own heart.
i am full of love.
and this has nothing to do with my post, but something i need to say....
my husband is my hero.