For the past six months I've been going to church regularly for the first time in... I don't even know how long. Since I was a kid really, and even then I only went because my Dad went, not because I had any personal desire to be there.
Most of the time I just sat, looking back at the clock repeatedly like it was the last day of school before Christmas break, and drawing pictures of the Titanic with the pink Bic pen (you know the pens I'm talking about, they came in pink, blue, purple and green) I had stashed in my little Clueless-era purse (true story, my Dad still has one of those drawings tucked in his Bible somewhere between Deuteronomy and one of the Gospels, I'd bet).
Without getting too far into it, I'd never quite found a church I felt at home in. When I lived in London I went to Holy Trinity Brompton and loved it, but even then I didn't get too comfortable because I knew my time was limited. So when Jared started going to Solid Rock earlier this year, I was curious and tagged along.
And I loved it.
Really, truly, loved it.
The only downside was that things between us were still rather raw and it was extremely difficult to be there with him (not to mention tricky to get back to town and to the 6pm service from work after a busy Sunday in wine country). And so I did something that surprised even myself:
I started going to church alone at the 8am service.
And therein lay the beginning of that turning point for me. I was always so apprehensive about church in the past, always felt like an outsider encroaching on a community I wasn't really a part of. But not here, and it only took one service to show me that. Ordinarily - and in the past - I wouldn't have even considered going alone just because I was worried I'd be nervous, or uncomfortable or... I don't know. I don't know what my deal was.
Anyway, I'm getting off on a tangent here...
Since going to Solid Rock I've started paying a little closer attention to what the Bible says. Not to make it seem like I've ever disregarded it, just that I'd never really taken the time to sit and read it for anything other than school (Pepperdine - Christian university - in four years you read it cover to cover at least once over).
Cutting to the chase here because it's two-thirty in the morning, I keep going back to The Book of Ruth. A story that had never really stuck out to me before but now is absolutely ringing in my mind.
She loved someone unconditionally. Absolutely and without question or hesitation. Someone who had a real difficulty believing it, and wanted to set Ruth free from what I think she deemed an "obligation". Sure, it was her mother-in-law, but the lesson applies to any love for another human being.
Ruth was patient and remained steadfast in her love and devotion. She never wavered because she knew herself and knew how deep her love ran.
"Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.... When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her."
I don't know how to make someone believe you love them unconditionally. I wish I did. And in truth, it kills me a little to know there is even a question of whether I love them that much. It sometimes feels like I am being unfairly tested and challenged, like they can't wait to prove me wrong.
But I will be patient, I will be strong, I will pray that the ability to believe will come.
I believe in love. A love that lasts. And I will spend the rest of my life proving that love is real, love is unconditional and that love never ends.
No matter what.