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I’ve decided “recovery” is a poor word to use to describe my life beyond the confines of the church and its religion and theology.

Now, that being said, there were some things I needed to recover from, such as the atmosphere of control, manipulation, mind-control, and even abuse.

But those were aspects of a larger picture.

I prefer now to use the word “growth” or “progress”. Or maybe “process”?

But these words are problematic too because it gives some people the impression that I think they’re better than they if they’re still within the church and abide by its religion and theology. Yes, I get criticized for this quite often.

Until I come up with a better word, though, “progress” will have to do.

You see, I now understand my life in the church, etc., as a critical part of my story. And it’s one I do not want to delete or even edit.

Why? Because I wouldn’t be who I am today unless I was who I was yesterday. Those prior chapters are all crucial in my personal development, and I can actually say I’m grateful for it all.

Please, don’t think I’m excusing or endorsing the abuse I suffered, or those I love suffered, or that you suffered.

However, somehow, like an alchemist, all these ingredients have conspired together in a strange and wonderful mixture we call David Hayward, and you.

So, the other day when I was sharing some of the horrific stories we’d endured with a friend, he said, “Man, I bet you wish that never happened to you!” I really didn’t know how to answer. Because I wouldn’t be in the frame of mind to be able to answer that question with the wisdom he thought I should have without having experienced it.

Complicated, I know. But, that’s life, and that’s what makes our stories so interesting, and what potentially makes us wise as well as compassionate towards others.