I began to push away from church a little more. I now spent all of my Sundays walking or riding my bike and my wife was afraid that I had left church for good. But I knew differently because I wasn't angry at God (at this point) I was disappointed with Christians. I had had some pretty bad experiences with other Christians in the previous few years and now I was wondering if I would ever want to be around them again. God I didn't have a problem with - it was his people that had most hurt me.
This was the beginning for me - the beginning of discovering my problems and hangups. This would be a path that would take me almost 9 years to journey. And it all began with a few people who cared, who talked to me and who took an interest with my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
I had met Jimmy Hawkins at church. In fact he was on staff at the church where my wife and kids attended and where I had fallen through the pastor's ceiling. He was an interesting guy who one day had a few minutes with me and just talked to me and he listened. That was the part that was new to me - he listened.
It's funny how we all like to talk about ourselves. Given a chance just about everyone will tell their life's story. Oh there are people that on the surface will say things like "my life's nobody's business" or "nobody cares about me". But you wait long enough and show enough interest and you'll get their thoughts and opinions about life and soon you know a lot about their story.
I was that was at that point. I was hurt and wanted to tell someone. I told Jimmy that day that I didn't think organized religion worked anymore. In some ways he seemed to agree or at least he seemed interested in what I had to say.
He told me to not worry about the ceiling or about some of the things that happened after that. He broke through a little and made me feel a little OK about the situation.
The pastor at the church also took an interest in me, but of course he had an interest in everyone - being the great person that he was - I knew this so it made me a little cautious - but he proved himself a genuine person who cared.
Looking back I know the "plans" that these guys had but they were plans driven by a real desire to see hurting people find healing. Their plans were plans that God was working out in their lives. The love that they had was a spill over from their own healing and it spilled over to me.
I began to feel some acceptance which was what I needed at that point and I began to attend church again. Funny, all it took was a few conversations with two people who cared - nothing dramatic, nothing difficult. Looking back now I am shocked at the simplicity of it all and I am challenged.