Over the past 15-18 months, I have struggled in with my feelings and relationship with another person. He is far away now, but in a place where I will surely encounter him again in the next few weeks. He is someone that I care for, care about and really like. If you asked him about that in the past year or so, he would probably inform you in no uncertain terms that I bore false witness against him and that I was the cause of much unwanted change in his life. I’m pretty sure he has himself convinced that I was out to get him, and successful at doing so. I’ve lived with and walked through the anger he left behind and as we enter Holy Week, I can say “Thank you.”

I’ve been through my own defensiveness, my own battle where I have wanted to scream [at him] — “Look, Jerk, I wasn’t trying to hurt you, but I saw someone who needed some help.” or “I’m really angry that you think I was out to hurt you.” I’ve gritted my teeth, and hurt, as I became an invisible person in his presence. I’ve sat with the anger when I heard from others that he had told them that I was the reason he was moved away. I have taken comfort in another friend suggesting that I pray the Psalms, because they contain all of the emotions I have passed through.

Sunday, I listened to the Passion as recorded in Luke’s Gospel. It sank in that through the troubles of the past year I have also looked at myself. I have opened a small opening to let the Light of God’s love shine in and illuminate my actions, my thoughts, my feelings. I have asked forgiveness for the contempt I have felt. I have attempted to step outside the situation and see the whole thing. I have examined my motivations for what I actually did do and tried to be honest about the parts that were on the track of being loving and caring as well as the parts that were driven by hurt and anger. I have come to appreciate at a deeper level that “Doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest thing” (Thanks to my favorite TV Shrink, Dr. Danny of “Necessary Roughness”). I have finally accepted that sometimes you must say what you believe, even though it will likely put you into very uncomfortable places. I am at peace with knowing that I wasn’t perfect, but I did try to do what I thought the Spirit was calling me to do.

In so many ways, this whole mess has helped me to accept that I am loved: even when I push back at God’s love and try to distance myself simply because God can see me so clearly — which can be very uncomfortable.

And so, I say “Thank you” to my friend (and I truly still consider him a friend, no matter what he thinks) for helping me to grow closer to God. I pray that he too will find it in his heart to let the walls come down and let go of his own hurt and anger — because that makes this life so much more joyful to live.