A few days ago, I ran into a family that I’ve known for almost 11 years, but who I don’t see too often anymore. More specifically, I’ve known the parents for almost 11 years; when I met them, a few weeks after I moved here, the wife was very pregnant with the first of the four children they have now. The dad of this family is one of the pastors of the church I attended from 2006 through 2015, and both the dad and the mom have done worship music at this church.
It was good to catch up. But the whole time, it felt a little awkward, like the feeling you get when you run into someone after burning your bridges with them. Don’t get me wrong here; I do not consider anyone in this family to be someone I burned a bridge with. I really am glad I saw them. It just felt awkward in my head because I didn’t exactly leave that church on good terms. It had nothing to do with any members of this family, or even anyone at that church, specifically; the reasons were a combination of feeling like there was no place for me there anymore and not agreeing with the direction that the leadership wanted to take the church.
This awkward feeling is nothing new. There are many unresolved hurts from my past, and some of the people involved I still cross paths with occasionally. Every situation is different, but often, with people I was once very close with, I find myself honestly wishing that we could be friends again. But it’s not always that simple. Subconsciously, what I really want is for things to be exactly like they were, in my head, before the hurt ever happened. But that is embracing an unrealistic alternate reality that isn’t true. Things change, people show their true colors, and I can’t just shake off being hurt and let everyone walk all over me and treat me like crap, or else it’ll keep happening again and again. It definitely requires careful discernment on my part, on a case-by-case basis, whether to keep those who hurt me at arm’s length or let them back in.
This post is kind of turning into a stream of consciousness… but all this was in my head the other day. Back to the pastor and his family who I saw the other day… they are definitely not people I want to keep at arm’s length, because, as I said, the reason I left that church was not because of them. Last year, on one day when I was particularly frustrated at my old church, that pastor messaged me later suggesting that we sit down sometime and talk about why I’m so angry about all of that. I sincerely meant to get back to him after I had a chance to process why I was so angry, if there was something else at the root of this frustration, but I never did, mostly because I never really took that time for processing. Also, I was dealing with a lot of things emotionally all right at the same time, and I was always busy with work. But some of my recent soul-searching revelations have been tied to the roots of this anger, so maybe I’ll have to take him up on that offer soon… or at least get back in touch with him to say what didn’t get said last year. And maybe there are other people I need to get back in touch with and say things that haven’t been said. And maybe there are still others who I need to cut out of my life for good, because at this point keeping some people in my life might do more harm than good.