Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Conversation That Never Happened

Some things I wish I would have said, to the voice inside my head.

The door closes and the room feels to small for the tension and the elephant sitting awkwardly and uncomfortably between us.  He slides a tray out of his desk and writes something on one of many post-it notes stuck there.  The drawer closes and we face each other over the massive cherry desk.

The Voice Inside My Head:  So, what brings you here today?

Me:  Well, it's been three years.

TVIMH:  I guess it has.  (Pause).  So... rumor has it you're leaving town.

Me:  For once, rumor has it right.  And how are things here?

TVIMH:  Doing well.

Me:  I'm glad to hear that.


Me:  So, I guess, before I left, I wanted to clear the air.

TVIMH:  I see.  (The faint hint of a frustrated smirk shows at the corners of his lips.)  I think the air is clear enough.

Me:  Maybe not.

TVIMH:  I think you've had your say.  You're finally going away and I'm not going to have this discussion with you.  (He starts to get up and leave.)

Me:  Genesis 50:20.

TVIMH:  What?

Me:  Genesis 50:20.  "You meant it to me for evil, but God meant it to me for good."

TVIMH:  You have a lot of nerve!

Me:  Maybe.  I'm still not sure yet.  But I wanted to say "Thank You."


Me:  When I met with you guys right before the end, M** said, "I hope that some day you'll be able to agree that this was the right thing to do."  Back then, I remember feeling there was something prophetic about his words.  That's why they've stuck with me all this time.

He sits back down in his chair, a doubtful but intrigued look on his face.

Me:  Don't misunderstand me.  What you did was wrong.  I can't judge your reasons.  Maybe you honestly thought you were doing the right thing; but I suspect that at the end of the day, you know that your behavior was wrong too.  But even if you don't, it doesn't matter.  I wasn't perfect either.  There were things I could have done differently.  Could have done with more understanding.  Could have done more or less of.  

Still, I want you to know I tried.  I really did.  Up until the very end, I tried to do everything as best I could.  It felt like you guys were ripping my heart out and hanging me out to dry, but I wanted to do what Jesus would do.  

That's why I didn't fight it.  I suppose you could have used my history against me if I had refused to step down.  I hope you would have been above that.  But it was possible.  However, in the end, I left willingly because I honestly wanted to do the right thing.  Because I didn't want my family to suffer even more unnecessarily.  Because I didn't want to cause a storm in the church.  Because I didn't want to damage the church anymore than you already were threatening.  Because I didn't want to be where I wasn't wanted.  Because...  Well, maybe because I was just so damned tired and part of me knew that it was the right time to go.

And it was the right time to go.  That's really why I came by today.  To tell you that M** was right.  I agree that it was the right thing.  It was high time for me to leave, but my own pious loyalty would never have let me.  I loved you, and I would have stayed in that hideous, psychologically abusive work relationship until you drained me of every bit of confidence and trust I had.  

I've learned that you can do the right thing for the wrong intentions; God can show mercy and love even in our own hateful actions.  It's a comforting thing to know, considering I'm not innocent either.

It hurt that I had given 6 years of my life supporting you despite your relentless pride and arrogance which had been crippling the church long before I came.  It killed me that I tried so hard to do the right thing and the whole time you were busy burying me in slander to the people that I loved and tried my best to serve.  I almost couldn't believe when I heard some of the lies that you (and the others) spread about me, even after I left.  It hurt like hell.

Of course, I know there are two sides to every story.  Maybe in the end we were both wrong.  Maybe some of the lies you told were truths I just can't acknowledge about myself.  Maybe I wasn't doing the right thing, but merely justifying my own actions.  Maybe you felt the way you did because I never supported you enough.  Anything is possible.

Honestly, I don't think it makes two cents worth of difference in the end.  I just want peace.  Peace for both of us.  I know we'll never see eye to eye.  I guess I just wanted you to know that I meant it three years ago when I said, "I forgive you."  In the time afterwards, I developed a lot of hurt.  But I want you to know that I forgive you again.  I'm thankful for the way God has worked.  I'm thankful for the loving, nurturing, blessing people God has placed in my life to move me past so much of all that.  I pray some day he'll bring me all the way through.  I'm looking forward to the future.  In the meantime, may God grant all his best to both of us, even when it hurts like crazy.

TVIMH:  Are you done?

Me:  I think so.

TVIMH:  Then you can show yourself out.

"It won't be the first time," I think to myself.  Opening the door, I turn for just a moment.

Me:  Peace, brother.

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