A long time ago, at the church where I used to serve as pastor, we ordered a bunch of coffee mugs with the church name on them. We suggested they be used to "mug" people - give a friend a coffee mug and invite them to be part of the church. Everybody needs another coffee mug. Somehow we ended up with probably a half dozen or so of them around our house (ours are all from the batch that didn't turn out right - we didn't steal them).
At different times since then a few people have commented they're surprised I still use them. You know, because of... what happened and all. I was thinking about that the other day as I sipped tea from one of those mugs at work.
The fact is, I am NOT ashamed or embarrassed to still use them. We have so many good memories of our time there; so many good things happened; so much of our life was involved with that "place" (realizing the church is not a place, but a people who are often identified with a place name). Granted, things did not end well there, and it was as much my fault as anyone's, but I refuse to strike that period or those people from my memory banks. It's like that thing Roman Catholics try to do by annulling marriages. How in the world can you say it never happened?!? I never understood that, and I don't want to say this never happened (the 14 years, not how it ended)!!!
So, while I don't usually even notice when I'm using a Fairview mug, I certainly don't have a problem with it. In fact, sometimes I'm even quite proud.
And while I'm on the subject... that was one of the things that really pissed me off after all was said and done. Months after everything went down I suggested the idea of reconciliation between us and the church board. The response we got was, "Sometimes reconciliation means moving on." I'm sorry, but that does NOT make sense to me. It didn't then, and it still doesn't today. But... whatever. That person may want to forget me/us, but I hope to never forget the people I ministered to and with during that time. Nor do I wish to suppress those memories. No one can ever take that away from me.