its been a while since I've written about my journey of leaving a conservative evangelical church. but I wanted to write something which does some justice to the ongoing hard graft of living a life of forgiveness.
(for those who didn't read the others they can be found here)
I wanted to write something about my ongoing journey with the business of healing and forgiveness – because it’s easy to write stuff when you’re feeling the beauty of what God has offered you, feeling the joy of walking with God, even when the journey is hard. Less easy to write about the hard bits, when you catch yourself wondering if you made it all up and if the forgiveness is really real when you have to pray prayers of blessing through gritted teeth.
But who wants stories of plastic faith?
And six months have passed since I wrote about this last. And other stuff happens. And the road of forgiveness gets a little rocky. But you still have to walk it.
You see, I now have to do the present journey, day by day, week by week. And it’s not like I left the area. This journey that I have to do, is up close and personal with the community I had to leave. My professions that I want unity and that I’ve chosen the road of forgiveness rather than bitterness, must be worked out in the context of actually doing it. Otherwise it really means nothing.
Sometimes I wonder if the energy it takes to put myself in their physical proximity is worth it though. Because it’s bloody hard.
Is it worth it?
You want the truth? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s heavenly, sometimes it’s agony.
But the cost of not doing it is higher.
The thing is that no-one can do this journey for you, it is intensely personal. Occasionally, something is said or I make a connection in my mind and it sends me into a flat spin. Everything goes up in the air and I’m not sure where it will land. It’s all in flux and I have to be content with the rawness I feel in the meantime.
Waiting for solid ground again.
But you know, sometimes I think solid ground is overrated.
One of the hardest things is when I have to watch friends slowly suffer. What do I do with that? Seriously?
You know what I do with that?
I listen to them a lot, talk a little, give out the odd cuddle.
You know what I don’t do with that?
I never tell them to leave.
Is that the right thing to do? I really have no clue. When we first left I made up my mind that I wouldn’t ever tell people that they should leave, believing that they have to do their own journeys. I believed that to be right, and I still do. But to simply watch suffering played out in front of me?
Am I being mature, or am I just a coward?
are prayers of blessing through gritted teeth enough?
So this is the ongoing journey. It’s not pretty, it’s not even particularly eloquent. But it’s reality.
And it’s definitely not plastic.