I went way off the reservation last year.
I'm trying to tell you that I fell into sin, (and dove in and didn't come up for air is more like it) but I'm trying to convey that I fell far and hard without shocking you with the details.
There are a number of painful anniversaries that occur for me in the first half of the year.
Last year, sometime in the middle of January, I felt my grasp beginning to loosen and that was the beginning of a downward slide that was cut short only by the near-death experience you can read about elsewhere in this blog.
Almost dying had an effect on me though, more profound than I feel adequately capable of expressing. The realization of how I had wasted so many of the past thirty-something years, and how little time I might really have left, caught me up short and made me re-evaluate everything.
I changed. I knew then that it was something that was going to have a lasting effect on me, and after a year I can say that it truly has.
I'm not sure everyone feels that way.
See, some of the things I got involved in came to light, and I know a number of people around me found out some, or even all, of the details. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that a few people found out the details because they either came to me and asked, or I confided in them at one point or another. Other people got information which I am not sure was entirely factual.
Frankly, I'm glad the things that came out did come out. God blessed me, because not having to worry about when that information would come out is a huge relief.
Thing is though, I know one way or another, people got information because there was a behavior change.
The "room" became cooler.
And now we're a year beyond all that, and I find it to be a little upsetting. I'm not angry upset. Honestly, it all makes me a little sad, and I even feel compassion for these people.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another"
I know Jesus loves me. I know that Jesus has accepted my repentance as real. I know that if Jesus came to my church, he would talk to me and hang out with me, because that's how Jesus loves.
I have also come to learn over the last year what it means to love like Jesus. Don't get me wrong, I'm still eons away from attaining perfection. I still get angry, I still lust, I could be a better steward in many ways...there are a number of things that I am working on.
There are some things that I have done that were right over the last year too though. I know that I am learning to love like Jesus because I have done things over the last year that went against my better interests, or even in spite of the fact that I had been slighted.
I called my Dad and invited him to visit. I remember the reasons I have to be angry with him, but when I think of him coming to visit I get tears in my eyes. He's my Dad. I have valid reasons to be angry, but I want my father to be impacted for Christ, and so I have to let the Spirit work through me.
Mostly though, I feel like I am learning to love like Jesus because I am modeling it for you as best I can when you look at me with that condescension and judgement written all over your face.
When you fillet me with your eyes and give me that tight little grin, I will always smile and act as if nothing has changed in our relationship. Because for me, nothing has.
I still love you and I still think you are wonderful.