Tomorrow I’ll begin sharing insights from the FaithTrust Institute’s superb training, “Responding to Clergy Misconduct.” But today, I am just celebrating a miracle.
Survivors rarely emerge whole. Among our deepest wounds: shattered relationships. Most of us lose our church communities; many of us lose beloved friends even outside the church. In my traumatized state four years ago, I let a small conflict with a longtime friend become a total breach. Trying to share wisdom for my terrible situation, Janet chose words that caused me pain. If I had been healthy, we would have talked things out. But by that point I had stopped trusting anyone, even myself. I couldn’t take the chance that Janet would hurt me again, so I let her slip away. Perhaps I even pushed her away. Still, for all these years I haven’t been able to drive past the place where I had last heard her voice without feeling a pang of grief.
A few days ago, Janet had the grace and courage to write and ask for my forgiveness. We met this morning at our old favorite coffee place. We talked about what happened, and we shared the ways we have both grown since then. But mostly, we just enjoyed the sunshine of our mutual affection.
The prophet Joel might say that we lost four years to the swarming locust. Now, in one sweet hour on the San Diego boardwalk, God has restored all the years we lost.