2 more hours to work through the past

It’s Tuesday and once again, I find myself sitting in a chair.  This time it was just two hours and they seemed to go by a bit faster. I’m not sure if it was the foresight to wear my glasses instead of my contacts (when you sit and meditate, your eyes should be closed and if you wear contacts, your eyes can get very, very dry) or if I fell asleep.  Or maybe, it could be it was half the time I sat the day before.  I can be so brilliant sometimes in spite of myself.  Something was bothering me yesterday that I mentioned.  I started thinking about it a little more after the morning session and it kept coming back to my mind.

I’ve long been angry at my parents and other parents in the church where I grew up for keeping something from us.  When I was in third or fourth grade, our AWANA leader was this guy who played guitar and led the singing time and then we would quote Bible verses to him that we learned, usually that same night because we were all super smart or something.  He seemed like a decent guy, I guess.  We may have made fun of his size, or the fact that he was on welfare but still had a satellite dish in his back yard to get lots of cool channels (keep in mind we were kids and didn’t know we were supposed to be politically correct yet).  We all got along so that’s really all that was important at the time.

He came up with an idea for our group to take a bike trip that would start from the church and head up to a wooded area about two or three miles from the church.  In hindsight, I’m not sure why that was wise simply considering the hills and age of our group, but we all thought it was a great idea since we liked riding bikes and going up hills meant you could go down them too.  After telling our parents of the plan, the first thing they all asked was “who is the other adult that is going?”  We were assured by our leader that there would be another one with us so everyone was happy.  However, when we got to the church to start the ride, he was the only adult that was going to go.  The kids (me included) couldn’t have cared less.  The adults were all skeptical.  Mine didn’t want me to go, but I insisted.  What could go wrong?  We were kids who knew how to handle our bikes.  We really only had one major intersection and I was sure we would all be able to ride much better than him anyway.  If there was someone to worry about it was him (in my mind because of his riding skills, in the adults’ minds…some other reason).

I’m going to spare you the details of the ride.  We went up hills and down, had to wait for him to catch up on several occasions.  We all brought our own lunches and ate them in the woods.  We rode back and our parents picked us up.  Mine asked about the ride, what had happened, was there anything unusual, etc.  I found the questions strange at the time but just answered.  The ride was fun, we rode a lot, had lunch and rode back.  That was that.

Years later, when I was in high school, this man, who had taken us on a bike trip by himself was arrested.  He was caught with a few boys and sent off to jail.  I was shocked.  My classmates were shocked.  What we didn’t know and our parents did:  it was his second offense.  He had already served time BEFORE he was our AWANA leader and took us on that bike trip.  Now I understood why my parents had such apprehension.  We dodged a bullet of sorts.

So why was I still angry?  Who was I angry with?  My parents?  Initially yes.  I couldn’t believe they didn’t tell us who this person was and why they were concerned and what we should watch out for and that they were concerned that day for legitimate reasons.  But what if they had told me, would I have even understood?  I have no idea.  After considering this situation that happened so many years ago, it really time to let it go.  Before I do that though, I have to consider the topics.  There are two things at stake here. 

  1. Forgiveness.  The church had forgiven a supposedly reformed man (and to my knowledge, they forgave him again when he finished his next jail term).  Could I forgive the church for putting him in charge of not just mine but other groups?  I’m not sure.  Does it make sense for a recovering alcoholic to tend bar?  Would you have a reformed kleptomaniac guard your valuable possessions?  I’m going with no for both of those questions.  So why on earth would you have a convicted pedophile work with children?  I don’t have an answer so I guess I have not forgiven the church.
  2. Parental responsibility.  I think my parents acted in the way they felt was best.  They wanted to give this person a second chance for the good of the church and didn’t want to prejudice me toward this person.  I’m sure they also didn’t want me to mistrust everyone and felt that as long as there were other adults around, everything would be okay.  Now that I have kids, I wonder how I would deal with the same situation.  We’ve already started talking to our daughter about avoiding strangers, sensing danger and not getting into cars with other people.  It’s a delicate discussion.  I don’t want her to fear everyone, but also do not want her to trust everyone.  Of course, now we can check online to see who in our neighborhood is a registered offender so we’ve got that going for us.  I’m okay with how my parents handled the situation because frankly, I’m not sure how I would have done it differently. 

I think in the end, I’m at peace with the situation.  We were fortunate that nothing happened and my parents handled it the best they could.  I have no idea what happened to that guy but I’m hoping for his sake and for the sake of others who he knows that he has completely reformed and can live a productive life. 

2 Hours in a chair will mess with your head.  If I can start letting things go that I’m hanging onto for no real reason, those 2 hours are well spent.  Let’s go for another few tomorrow shall we?

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