It was perplexing.
I have learned so very harshly that decisions we make in our youth can follow us for decades.
Also, it's interesting to spend decades living and serving and choosing different and still have teenage thoughtlessness be a way to be identified by.
There are people in my life... and by the words "in my life" I mean on the perimeters of my life, those who are on the outer circle persay, who still interact with me in a way that reminds me they are in relationship with the Girl who existed almost 20 years ago- and not the woman I am today.
My reply to the conversation and person was "Did you know I gave everything to charity?'
Which they didn't.
You see, I took t-shirts and stupid things. I went through my room, my closet, with a fine tooth comb and anything that was "gained" unscrupulously; I donated to charity. Clothing.
YES; I was eventually caught and the $2500 fine and "Slap on the Hands" wasn't necessarily why I never stole again... (in fact, I return pens to the bank if I absentmindedly drive away.)
WHY did I learn? What was the lesson? If it wasn't the fine and the slap on the hands, what was it?
I had JUST turned 18 when I got caught stealing a t-shirt, SOOOOOOOooooo- being an "adult" I didn't have to tell my parents, and I assumed they wouldn't find out.
Sitting in the courtroom though, waiting for my name to be called by the judge to stand at the podium- I heard the doors to the courtroom open and there in the halo of the doorway was my dad.
He pointed at me. I stood and with my terror filled heart, I followed his beckoning out of the courtroom, into a small "Council" room for attorneys.
With my head hanging in shame I answered the questions he asked about the situation.
At the end of the conversation, my dad spoke to me in quiet but powerful tone and said "Katie, I'm sorry that I have failed you as a dad. I'm sorry that you wouldn't know that regardless of what you have done, or how hard it is you can come to me and I will stand by you."
The words hit me like a hammer to my soul.
"Let's go." he finished, and we went back into the courtroom and stood at the podium together.
I wish I could say that that was the end of my self destructive and self loathing behavior... but it wasn't. However, that experience has fundamentally shifted my entire life and effected the way I parent and choose to love my kids.
That day my dad showed me what being a dad was. I know he was embarrassed. I know I was ashamed. I feel guilt over that day still to this day.
But all I can say is... I learned. Thank God for that. Thank you Dad for that.
And, I Am NOT my past. I AM NOT my future. I AM this moment. In THIS MOMENT, I hold Eternity in my hands and heart. I AM LOVE as I choose to be LOVE in this moment. I AM LIGHT.