In my dream, I was waiting for the band to come through town. Third Day was giving a concert and the roads were blocked. I was a part of the organizational team, as a new member of the church who was hosting them. Not a staff member or anyone important or even anyone that everyone knew, but a member. And that was enough. As I got ready to cross the street, I heard a voice – a member of my old church, the one I’d been attending for years. He was talking to three other members, telling them how stupid I was, how deceived I was, how ridiculous I was to be attending this new church. He was hateful and his friends, people I’d thought were my friends, were hateful. And in my dream, there was a fleeting second when I wanted to hide. For just a moment, I thought about how good it was that I’d found a new church and I would never have to see those people again. But then…. but then… I knew that I would see them again. I would keep attending that church and my new church and I would let all those people at my old church keep talking about me. I would let them be angry and suspicious, I would let them judge and not understand and I would not try to make them understand. I just wanted to go and hang out with them and love them, whether they loved me or not. And in my minds eye, in my dream, I saw myself at the next church service. I saw those four people cutting angry, suspicious, hateful glances my way, and I was so filled with love for them. I knew I’d keep showing up for them, never seeking to change their opinion of me, just showing up to love them with my whole heart.
Then I was at my new church, and Third Day was playing and my friend Patrick, who introduced me to Jesus all those years ago, looked back at me and smiled. And I smiled at him. And then other people looked over their shoulders and smiled at me and I knew that I was loved. But more importantly, I knew that I could give love. To these sweet people who accepted me and loved me and were glad to have me with them, and also to the people who were so filled with hatred and judgement and anger toward me. And that act of giving love… it was just… it was everything.