Can you draw a circle? That was the question I was confronting. I can draw something that is like a circle, but could I actually draw a circle? The picture above represents a quick try. None of them are even close. I could have traced a circle or used a compass, but the challenge was to draw a circle freehanded. I could get the ends to nearly match, but they turned out like eggs or clown noses, not circles. I don’t mind you knowing that I can't draw circles—that I am far away from perfect.
Last week I was asked to share something in the staff that no one knew, not even Cindy, my wife of 36 years. I thought long and hard. I’ve told so many stories about my l life in my sermons. People who have been here a long time know many of them. I thought and thought and then a story popped into my head. I was about 4 years old. I had gone camping with some family friends. My two brothers and I were loaded in car with other kids and had gone to the beach.
I don’t remember much about the trip. I only rememberer the car ride home. I was the youngest and I was sitting next to the window. The older kids were in the back of the station wagon in some seats that faced each other. Slowly, I become very aware that I need to go to the bathroom. The urgency continues to rise. I don’t know how much longer it is until we get home. I don’t know the adults that well-I was mostly an add-on of the trip. I sat and fidgeted. I tried until I could not. Then the flood waters came. Still I sat quietly. I did not move, I did not cry out. I did not let anyone know.
I remember the humiliation. I remember the fear. I think I thought they might leave me by the side of the road if they found out. I think I put my jacket over my legs. I sat and waited and I was afraid. I have no idea if they ever suspected or knew. All I remember is the embarrassment.
This week, we were on our way back from the water park with the children and a young child needed to stop for a restroom break. I had lots of sympathy and was glad that they felt they could trust us with that information.
We all tend to show people our best. If we ever let our guard down we tend to do it on our own terms-like telling you I can’t draw perfect circles ( I figure you can’t either). Telling about the more shameful acts is another story entirely. Somewhere in telling the truth and being loved still is real freedom. I think this is why the bible says we should confess to one another. Not so that we might act as some judge or arbitrary, but so that we might actually experience the life transformation of being loved while still a sinner.