I got tackled in the Abbot thrift store and it made me smile! Let me explain . . .
Sometimes serving others with the best of intentions leads people to think way too highly of us, and surprisingly – lead another whole group of people to be bothered by us. Jesus dealt with these dissonant responses from the people He served, and so it should come as no surprise to teachers, parents, counselors, or any who serve others when we receive the same wild swings in responses towards us. Yesterday was one of those days after worship where I had a few people who weren’t too thrilled with me. One individual sincerely desired to correct something they felt was lacking in my theology, and another felt “crushed” for not being publicly recognized by me for all of their hard work (and I do have to say this individual is amazing in their skill and in the impressive amount of passion and energy they have put into what they do). There are moments when helping others can be kind of a bummer.
But then I got tackled!! Later in the afternoon our family jumped in the van and went on a hike along one of the breathtaking trails God has graced upon us here in Santa Cruz. Because we were near Abbots thrift store in Felton, and because our family loves the whole “re-purpose, renew, re-use” mantra, we stopped in to look around. As everyone fanned out in the store, I was suddenly tackled from behind. Well I wasn’t completely taken down to the floor but I was given a huge bear hug from behind. At first I thought it was one of my boys, but when I looked back I was happy to discover I was being hugged by an individual who once wasn’t a fan of mine. This fun individual had been a part of our church, and served faithfully in the humblest of ways, but a few things went off the rails between us. It was a combination of my burnout, my brokeness and their brokeness from past experiences with other church leaders. For a long time it looked like our story would play out like far too many relationship in churches around us; me trying to make amends, the other just disappearing and concluding I was demon-spawn. I thank God that this individual didn’t do that. It was a hard road for them, but they actually asked for help from one of our other pastors, and together we worked through the hurts and were able to reconcile to the point that they gladly tackled me in Abbots on Sunday afternoon. Isn’t that awesome!? We spent some time chatting about how they were doing, and it was great to share some laughs and smiles together. It was God’s reminder to me that human relationships can be so broken, but they can also be so beautiful when we seek to work things out and reconcile!