You always… hurt the one you love.

Do you think that’s true?

I do. The ones you love are typically those closest to you, and for me, those are always the ones I lash out at when I am angry, confused, doubtful, embarrased, stressed…

About 10 or so years ago, perhaps a little less, I hurt a lot of people with one series of actions. When that was over, after I’d alienated myself from them, after many of them walked or ran from me, I told myself that I was at peace with God, and those I had hurt directly, and so I didn’t owe anyone else an explanation or apology.

I’ve grown some since then.

The reality is that when I made bad decisions, when I chose sin, I disappointed people who believed in me, and that hurt them. I didn’t see it then, but I understand it now. Thank you, Wisdom That Comes With Age & Experience.

Tonight, after months of breadcrumbs… a conversation here, a Facebook message there, a random run in here, a reconciliation there, I returned to the place where all of this happened. It was, as I Tweeted, a moment of truth.

I’d been back to that place once, for a wedding. Not many people I knew were there and I was pregnant and therefore not fair play.

Tonight, we were too rushed in the whole getting-home-getting-dinner-getting-ready thing for me to be nervous… until we got there.

My children, bless their generous and charming souls, make it hard for people not to have conversation, not to smile. In their combined 4 years or so of knowledge, they give me confidence.

Returning turned out to be a good thing, a healing thing, and in all honesty, kind of a small thing.

I had small talk.

I made connections.

I was told that I was loved and always was.

We were invited to come back.

The walls did not cave in. The ceiling did not fall down. No one whispered, “You can stay tonight but you really shouldn’t come back.”  No one even said I looked fat.

We had a great Bible study. It began with Steven and the metaphor of throwing stones.

As I listened to such a direct and timely teaching, I looked around the sanctuary. I still know every stone of that place, every passage and doorway. I can see the spot on the platform where I sang my first “special,” the seat I held for five years or so in the choir, the place in front of the altar where I prayed for and received the Holy Spirit, the baptismal where I was baptized in water when I was 19. I could still see the human videos I directed. I could hear Pastor Wilson saying “you’re dismissed in God’s love” and leading us in the Doxology. I could hear our next Pastor asking his wife, his honey, to come to the piano, and then hear my now dear-friend Marilynn singing “He Is Here.” I actually physically did see some of the kids from the 4-year-old Sunday School class I taught (Melissa & Nicole are so lovely and now 16).

I used to think I needed some kind of grand reconciliation. I don’t need that anymore. Someone told me tonight that “We’re all in this together” and I know so clearly what she means… the God thing, the servant thing, the community thing, the wife and mother thing. What’s the point of holding on to the past and grudges and ickiness? We have too much to do in the here and now.

I think we’ll go back. I feel drawn. I don’t know. I’m just glad I revisted the one I love tonight. It was a precious two hours at Calvary Assembly, my home church.