A Conversation with Ben: A New Beginning

Early Saturday morning there was a knock at my door. Everyone that knows me know I don't like unannounced visitors. I hesitantly opened the door with a frown on my face so the unannounced visitor would know they disturbed my Saturday morning routine and that I didn't want to be bothered. Well, when I looked up, there was Ben Winston standing at my door. I held on to my frown as he greeted me but my frown softened after he said he needed to talk to me and ask for my forgiveness. I was actually shocked because I have spoken some hurtful but truthful things about Ben Winston the politician and pastor. At one point, I even questioned the motives of Ben Winston the person. I was already feeling rushed because I actually volunteered to work that day. I informed Ben that I couldn't talk with him at the moment but I could talk to him later in the day. He then said he would like it if my mother would join us in the conversation. I told him I would be able to talk to him around 6:00 p.m. In my mind, I was really hoping that was too late for him to return but as I was sitting on the patio, I looked up and Ben Winston was pulling into the driveway around 5:45 p.m.

One of the things that caused me to put up my guard was the fact that he said he did not know if he would have come to me if he wasn't running for office again. Immediately, I felt this was more grandstanding or at least political posturing. As the conversation continued, Winston said he wanted to apologize for the things he said and wanted to know if I would forgive him. I figured he wanted my forgiveness and my vote but I listed as he pleaded his case and plugged his campaign. As I sat there, I wanted to hold on to a grudge and send Ben away in anger but I realized how difficult it must have been for him to knock on my door and ask for my forgiveness; especially with his entire family hating me but that was not the purpose of his visit. At one point it seemed like he wanted me to ask him for forgiveness but I explained to Ben that his attacks were personal; I attacked his actions as a politician and a preacher. The time I overstepped my bounds, I apologized after going back and forth with his granddaughter on social media. I told Ben that he and his family must realize that as a political person and a public official, he's a prime target for invectives. After a through conversation, and him reflecting on the friendship he had with my father, he asked that we start with a clean slate and leave the past in the past. For the first time in years, I had a conversation with Ben that allowed me to see him in another light. When I heard that he was running for office....AGAIN...I made the decision NOT to discuss Ben or his attempt to get elected. I never thought in a million years that he would come to me seeking forgiveness. I have never voted for Ben Winston but he made a strong argument as to why I should support his campaign. As a blogger, I have to deal with a lot of criticism because I am critical. I don't care what people say about me as long as it's the truth. Ben has taught me the power of forgiveness and I don't know what I'm going to do about the upcoming election. Ben was the second candidate to reach out to me. I am planning an interview with Daniel Wise and I haven't received a response to my calls, texts to the other candidates. I guess they have no interest in sharing their political views.

It wasn't until the day after my conversation with Ben that I realized the need for a new slate. I opened my bible Sunday morning and there was a check lodged in the Book of Psalms. I looked at the date and it was the Sunday I was unofficially kicked out of the church I help establish. If you ask the pastor of the church, he would say he never kicked anyone out of his church but he said several times "why are you here?" and he and the rest of his congregation made sure I didn't feel welcome there. So we can play with words but I was kicked out of a church by members that don't want to admit they kicked me out of the church but will quickly say they were kicked out of another church. Interesting. After my conversation with Ben Winton, I realized I have allowed them to have too much power over me and it doesn't matter if they ever admit they kicked me out, egged my car or if they revise their church history to exclude me from the list of founding members, I forgive them and I'm moving on. I have saved all the photos and videos to a jump drive and will mail them to them so I can delete them from my hard-drive and my heart. The power of forgiveness. I'm starting today with a new slate. Peace and Blessings!

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