Sunday, July 19, 2009

the end of an era

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.

until now.

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.


Noelle said...

V. Cool. :)

zaiahbird said...

wow that's really cool skylana. i still don't think i could go back. I don't know what i'm scared would just be really weird. but i'm glad you got some freedom from it. did you see luke?

skylana said...

Yea I had thought about it many times before and was just terrified and furious... It just had to be now. No, I didn't see Luke... I didn't think he would be there because someone mentioned something to me about him going somewhere a week or so ago... But for the first time EVER I was completely, utterly and completely indifferent about seeing him. It was amazing, I felt like he was just anyone... The random guy sitting next to me... You know? He could have been there or not, it had no affect on my life. I didn't leave wishing I had seen him but knowing it would have been painful... I just didn't even worry about it. Crazy, Luke is finally just a person to me.... Just a guy I used to know.

Andrea June said...

This is a GREAT post, Skylana, and it relates a lot to some of the stuff I still deal with in regards to the time I spent at that church...especially the hurt, loneliness and exclusion I felt during the time I decided to leave.
Thanks for this. You rock :)

MEGAN said...

It's crazy to come to the realization that even churches hurt people. Like you said, WE ALL WILL hurt people at some point in our lives, it's inevitable. I've come to terms with the church I grew up in hurting a lot of people I care about, I went back a couple of months ago, and that's that!

Your girls are lucky to have such a courageous, loving mother who truly seeks to continually grow and better herself. They will grow up to be wise women.

Outnumbered by 3 Stooges!! said...

What an excellent post and im not talking about the nice things you said about my church, even tho that was nice, but the forgivness is amazing. I need to experience some of that, not so much in the church aspect but in other parts of my life. That is encouraging and im glad you could experience it. And im proud of you, I think that theres a lot more to you than people think!!

stephy said...

I feel like I understand how you might feel. I’ve been in therapy for four years for this very thing and for what it’s worth, my therapist tell me it is healthy and good to be bitter. It is really good and beautiful to be upset that Christians would treat you that way. It means you have self-respect. The bitterness comes from an honest place and it’s an uncomfortable (to put it mildly) emotion but that doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.
The more I look at the bible the more I am convinced that God honors our wrestling with him and that give-and-take. I’m still very much in process, but something sits right with me about questioning what I was always told.
I hope this makes some kind of sense. I don’t think we should accept shame for having bitterness. It’s part of the process and I think it's rad you're going through it. I think you're brave.

skylana said...

i totally think its healthy and good to be bitter... for a time. 4 years was pushin it.. ha... but seriously, it only began to be hurtful to myself. when you're hurt there is a time to feel the pain, process it, maybe feel angry, and then move on. i was stuck at angry for too long. and i really do feel like although their actions would have hurt me to an extent no matter what, as i am human, i gave them too much power over me... too much access, too much of my heart. that was my bad. but i have learned from it, and i haven't decided to be extreme and keep my heart locked up anymore so no one can affect me.. but i have learned that i want balance. love and protection.

anna joy said...

ahhh so goooooood! im so happy for you skylana. that is such a giant accomplishment, im sooo glad you feel free from that now. how awesome!

Joel Limpic said...

thanks for sharing skylana!! there is something crazy powerful about release & forgiveness & moving on. much love to you, seth, & your fam. miss your faces.

Heidi said...

This post reminds me so much of what I am going through right now with past hurts I had with my old church. I worked there for 3 years and I was seriously spiritually abused and I am surprised how long I worked there for. I was fired in January for not paying my tithe anymore.I couldn't pay it when I saw it was going for the pastors Italy vacations and to their bank accounts. It was quite horrific seeing these pastors in a way that I thought they were so spiritual. I think its great that you were able to go in and see that love with your old church. I am not there yet with mine. That church seriously caused me to drink everyday for like 2 years and lose so much faith I had. So hopefully one day I can go back there and see them like you did. Not yet for sure.

Elissa Rachael Parrish said...

this post was amazing... what you did and where you are now... amazing...

meg said...

I want to talk to you about this for real. Andy too.

Gombojav Tribe said...

Wow, this is a really cool post, Skylana.