Beginnings sometimes start at the end.
To understand why I chose to create this blog, you need to understand what I disovered two years ago. My life would never be the same.
Something bad was about to happen.
“What’s wrong?” Teresa asked.
She stared at me from the other side of the car. A light rain pattered on the roof. Early evening shoppers bustled in and out of the Corner Bakery off of Preston Road in Dallas. We had come here for a quick dinner, but now we sat in the car with our stomachs growling, trying to figure out life. Trying to figure out about us.
I sat gazing at the steering wheel, numb with fear.
“Steve, what’s wrong? You said you couldn’t date me, but you didn’t say why. You have to say something.”
Between my fingers, I slowly crumbled a tissue into white pulp. I heard the rain on the roof and watched a woman in a pink sweatshirt run from her SUV to the Bakery entrance.
It was hard to think. But Teresa was right, I must have something to say, some reason to give to explain why I couldn’t start dating her. My mind felt thick and stiff, like scar-tissue on a finger joint.
I said nothing.
Teresa sighed. She had exercised patience with me, but I could tell that we were on the verge of a catastrophe. I had told her we couldn’t date, but I had no valid reason. God seemed to be bringing us together. We had the same interests, the same vision for ministry, and we were in love. But dating would be wrong, I thought. Wrong. So very wrong. Ferris* had said so.
Teresa looked at me and I saw the corners of her mouth turn down. “Then can you at least tell me what you feel right now?”
I felt… nothing. My feelings were tropical fish swimming behind a thick plate of glass. I could see them but not touch them. I looked at the glass. A large ugly fish stared back at me.
“I feel numb,” I whispered. Something bad was about to happen.
“Numb? Then why are you shaking?”
In my hand, the tissue wad trembled. Something bad… something bad… something bad was about to happen.
“Because I’m afraid.” There it was. The ugly fish behind the plate glass was fear. I could see that now.
Teresa nodded. “What are you afraid of?” she asked gently.
This is wrong, I thought. I mustn’t go here. I mustn’t speak forth the problem.
Rain drummed on the roof. We waited a long time.
Finally, “I’m afraid of Ferris.”
“You’re afraid of Ferris? But honey, he’s your pastor. You shouldn’t be afraid of your pastor.”
I knew it. But it was true. I was so afraid of him. My fingers shook and down my back slicked a hot patch of sweat.
Teresa reached over and put her hand on top of mine. Bits of tissue stuck to her palm. Snot dripped from my nose. My skin prickled, like galvanized metal conducting a low current.
“Honey, you shouldn’t be afraid of your pastor. If that’s the primary feeling you have when you think of him, then that’s wrong. Wrong of him. That’s not healthy, Steve.”
And for the first time in my life, I knew that Ferris was wrong.
Not just something that he had done, but he was wrong, himself. How he lived. How he spoke. How he said that he represented God in my life. All of his manipulation and control and lording it over the flock. All of it was wrong.
And it had been wrong from the beginning.
*Not his real name.