Retracing His Steps

I really don't mean to do it. I really don't. Or maybe I do, I don't know. What I do remember is this: that in the act of doing it I came to a crossroad. There. I made the decision. It was all me. I chose. There's nobody else to blame.
But I can't seem to control it. It feels like it controls me. I just do these things. All the time. I fail, all the time.It doesn't even seem worth it anymore. All the struggling, all the fighting. I know I'm going to fail again. Before all this I thought I had it down.
I denied Him. "Never knew the guy" I said. Don't look at me like that, it was just a slip-up … really! I denied belonging to Him <strong>three</strong> times.
It grows numb, y'know? After a while it gets easy. We don't see Him. If I don't think about Him, He ain't here. At least that's what I told myself.
Then it happened. He showed up. In the flesh; face to face. I tried to slink away into the secret place in my mind – my refuge – where He doesn't exist and I don't have to face Him.
Then He noticed me. He looked me in the eye. He walked over. I looked at the ground, ashamed of my actions and how I had conducted myself. How I betrayed Him.
<center>"Do you love me?" He asked.</center>
He had used the term <em>agape</em> for love: a love without reservation or self-preservation. Love in its highest form.
"I…uh…" I couldn't do it. The strength of my will was known to Him, but more importantly, known to me. I hadn't the faith nor the boldness to make another promise counting on my own strength.
"I love <em>(philio)</em> You (as much as a friend loves another)". That was the best I could offer.
"Then feed my lambs".
I didn't know what He meant, but I knew this was hardly the time to talk to Him as if nothing had happened and the good old days were back.
He asked again, "Do you <em>agape</em> me?". The sounds of His voice revealed the pain He suffered from my betrayal but He reached out to me, forgiving me for all that I did to Him.
"Lord, You know all things. I <em>philio</em> You". I feared betraying His trust again and chose my words carefully.
"Tend my sheep".
Then He asked a third time.
"Do You <em>philio</em> me?"
I stood there speechless. I had offered Him so little – so feeble a love – and He didn't reject it or ridicule me. He met me where I stood.
He, the One to whom I owed everything to, saw my weaknesses and my shame, then took me for who I was. I wept.
"Lord, I <em>philio</em> You". The words now seemed so rich and so full. They were all I had to offer.
He took me in His arms and told me once more: "Tend my sheep".
<center>. . .</center>
It is said that in the apostle Peter, in his last days, was sentenced to be crucified. His last wish was that he be crucified upside-down because he deemed himself unworthy to die in the same manner as His Lord. His <em>philio</em> had been transformed.
My own journey's just begun.

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