Brian stood perfectly still in the tall grass, staring up at the wooden building with its faded white paint, its crumbling front steps, its wide open doors that creaked slightly in the breeze. Even though he'd never been here before it felt familiar, comfortable, and he almost just walked right up and stepped inside.
At the same time, though, there was a twinge of awkwardness that he'd rarely felt before. A moment of questioning whether, if he did pass through those doors, he'd even be welcome there anymore. And in that single question was a pain bigger than almost any he'd ever had to endure.
His eyes fixed on the cross at the top of the buiding, still standing strong and tall despite years of neglect. Physical neglect, anyway. How many people had stopped their cars on the same stretch of road as he had, followed the short path up the the building and just stared at it, hoping for answers to questions they'd never even voiced?
"Why?" he asked softly, finally, the only question that could cover everything he wanted to know. Why what was inside him had to contradict everything he'd been taught. Why he'd had to face so many challenges already in his life, only to have this come on top of it all. Why he'd made the choices he had, the ones that had made him the happiest, and whether they'd been the right choices to make.
He didn't expect an answer, not in words, but he'd hoped for a sort of peace to come over him. Some sort of assurance that he was doing the right thing. It was the only thing he felt he could, and still lead his life as honestly as he'd always believed he was meant to. But there was no sense of peace, and the questions remained in his head, questions he knew he would have to work to find the answers for himself.
He did believe that sometimes it was the journey that was necessary, to find what you were looking for, and not the answer itself, but that had always been the answer that you gave to other people when they faced challenges in life. It wasn't the answer that you wanted to have to give to yourself.
Brian felt a pair of arms come around his waist and smiled softly; he hadn't even heard him approach. And he should have, in the tall, rustling grass, but maybe he'd been listening for something else instead. Maybe he'd been listening for the wrong things.
"I know what you're thinking," said Lance, pressing his lips softly to the curve of Brian's jaw.
Brian didn't turn his head, just stared up at the cross, and waited for a moment again before speaking. "You can't," he said quietly. "It's complicated."
"I've been where you are," said Lance, his deep voice so very gentle with him. "I've had those same thoughts, those same questions. Do you want to talk about it?"
Brian didn't answer, didn't feel the need to just yet. Instead he just stared at the old church and let the question echo in his mind. And with a slow smile he wondered if that offer, those arms around him, weren't the very comfort he'd stopped here looking for in the first place.
God works in mysterious ways.