At some point love got really twisted to me. I had to be something I was not to receive love. I had to be good enough. I knew I was not good enough. I didn’t really believe that God loved me. I didn’t really love God. The first church I went to as a kid, made God scary for me. I always thought he was looking down waiting for strike three so he could send me to hell. And things just did not add up. The preacher always had something to say about how close hell can be than he would talk about grace and love. I could never understand grace that close to hell. I pictured God holding us all on a rope and some he would let make it up and others he’d cut them off the rope. Many times I thought I had already been cut, because I did not feel a lot of grace in my life. And love didn’t add up either. Were we to love everyone, or just those that thought and looked like us. If it had been simply love everyone, I would have been okay with that. But I remember one Sunday our preacher who up until that day I trusted and respected. He stood up before the congregation, and proceeded to ask us to please pray for his son, he said he had gone astray, because at school he has decided to have a black girlfriend. I waited to hear what he had done to need prayer, but that was it, he had a black girlfriend. Now love made no sense, who do we love, white people. I just didn’t get it. So I stopped going to that church. My next church was where my journey to God started and almost ended. I would probably not have gotten through my teenage years without the connections I made there. That’s where I met Lesli and Jeanne and Sam and Mallory and so many invaluable stones in my path. But the connection with God stayed twisted. Now here you could love black people, so that was good. But somehow you and to be one of the chosen ones to really fit in. I always wondered what they had that I did not. I know they must have had secret “we are it” club meetings. There was a lot to live up to also. Maybe I was not in the club cause I liked the movie Forrest Gump, I remember a whole sermon on why it was bad. I watched it after that sermon, and I tried to be holy and hate it, but I loved it. Of course I told members of the club I agreed with them. Looking back I know why I did not fit in, I was as fake as they came. I was the clown to hide the pain and I said what ever I thought would please everyone. I wonder if I had spoken my own truth, I think they would have elected me their president.
My years at that church taught me a lot. The biggest lesson I walked away with, is we are all human and we all screw it up. Deep down we all want to be good and kind, but we are selfish and a jealous people. We all lie to each other, weather it is about our own sin or our own struggle, we all lie. We want everyone to see us for what we want to be but never for who we are. I wanted to be so important there, and I never was. Looking back I can see why I was there, I was there to learn but not to live. I was there to meet people who would change my life, and I was there to understand that playing church is not enough.