“Shake the dust from your feet,” he whispers. Forget the memories. Release the pain and hatred. Forgive.
“Home is where your family is,” Mom says. My stoic baby brother, Josh, hides his emotions. He is far too mature for a 14 year old. My sister, Anna, smiles. She is so optimistic, so sure that tomorrow will be brighter. I don’t understand what pulls them away.
Every piece of me clings to this house. This is the only home I’ve ever known. I don’t remember the day my family pulled away from Denver skylines, billows of dust chasing us down dirt roads. This is where I learned how to ride a bike, dodging puddles on rainy afternoons. This is where I learned how to sneak up on rabbits in barefoot silence; where I learned how to kiss a boy with dirt between my toes. It is home.
I was also leaving the church that was my second home for sixteen years. We lived one mile from our closest neighbor, but the church was only 50 feet away. Dad was the pastor of the tiny congregation of 130 people. During the week, Dad gave me free reign of its pulpit, classroom, stage, and hidden closets. It was my castle. I’d dash down the halls with my pet bunny tucked into my shirt. After weddings and funerals, Josh and I raided the fridge for cookies. We’d chug the leftover grape juice after communion. I went to every potluck, AWANA night, and VBS. I grew. I dedicated my life to Christ during Sunday school. I trusted and loved the church.
Then, I started 7th grade and things began to change. I felt the burden of being a pastor’s...
... middle of paper ...
...ve survivors. For the first time, I realize that while what happened to my family was wrong, I never forgave. I was a slave to my circumstances. The night I teepeed the church did not free me. I did not see the ways that God provided for my needs, I only saw my loss. I was living in wreckage. What if fifteen years from now, I let distrust of the church stop me from ministry? Would I let this pain distance me from God? Would my 9/11 experience define my life?
Today, Dad called me to tell me he was turned down by another church. The family that let us stay in their home says it’s time for us to find a new home. My heart breaks for my family. I cannot see the end of this storm. I have not forgiven the elders who signed the letter. But today, I am not a victim of my circumstances or a slave to fear. I am a blessed survivor, and I trust that God has power over the waves.
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