I suppose I’m long overdue for an update on my life as some folks have been wondering. To be straight, we’re still working through things, taking life together day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month.

After going very public with our situation, I mentally braced for the worst: expecting the relief of public humiliation, the security of the pillory. I’d go to church, sit by myself, then leave. Only in the last two weeks have I even taken Communion. I was accused of wearing a look which came across as arrogance or impenitent. It’s not like I can claim that a charge of arrogance would ever be misplaced with me, but ironically, the look has been that of a person ashamed to be seen in the church. Ashamed to be seen with his wife. Ashamed to be seen with a community he served so hard and betrayed so dearly. A person entirely uncomfortable with the idea of people loving him and with the idea of people forgiving him. It’s one thing to talk about it and know about it, it’s entirely another thing to experience it. And the whole thing has me … baffled.

Because after we blogged, prayers came in from around the world. The horror community wrapped itself around us. Meals were cooked for us. Folks dropped us notes which were not only really appreciated, but carried us through some dark moments. There were those who dropped everything to come sit with us. Those who planted themselves firmly in “my cave” not only to hold me to account and keep asking me the hard questions, but to make sure I got back up, dusted myself off, and keep on the path of becoming who I am meant to be and live.

I don’t know what to do with any of that. I seriously don’t know what to do with or how to process the love shown to me. Which brings me to the title of this blog, though I might be better off saying that love baffles me. Sometimes I feel like a kid being force fed medicine: being held down, thrashing about like the most uncooperative of patients … while those surrounding me patiently love me back to health.

There are times when the shame and guilt threaten to overwhelm me, days when I was drowning in it. And it became easy to believe that God had washed His hands of me or that was too dirty and guilty to be in His presence. It became easy to forget that the Doctor was in, and He came for the sick, to treat the wounded (even those with self-inflicted wounds). He then reminded me that I was right where I’d always been: in the cup of His hand, showing me what it means to be loved.

Love stays right there with us even during the ugly and dark times. Love sees the person you are meant to be and helps moves you along toward becoming that. Love doesn’t let you off the hook, nor does it want you to define yourself by your sin or failures. You can’t outrun love.

There are times in our lives when we don’t listen to our hearts, to what we know to be true. We may betray ourselves. Our friends. Our family. Our community. God. We become lost. There’s no way to undo the mess I’ve caused in people’s lives and the hurt Sally has had to go through, all the damaged relationships surrounding us, all the broken Shalom, all of the betrayed trust. There’s no way for me to go back and undo years of bad choices. Lord knows I wish I could. Just like I know that forgiveness takes time. All I can do is attempt to live a life of repentance.

I still find it difficult to believe in and listen to love. And there still may not be a happy ending at the end of this story. But I have learned this much: in chasing after a dream, it’s easy to miss the beauty and love in front of you. And I pray to one day be worthy of it.