By: Darrelyn L. TuttSeven years have passed and I still haven't forgotten the knock.The vehicle outside our home is unfamiliar but the individual is not;I'm not expecting her.-----We're in the midst of a departure and an upcoming move has me scrambling about in sweats and a pink-ringed ponytail. I'm scribbling furiously on boxes with a massive black permanent marker recording contents contained within.I'm weary with exhaustion but intrigued by the visitor.-----Carly in seven words:Capable, Controlling, Competant, Guarded, Practical, Efficient, Responsible.Traits of sufficiency and efficiency created an internal rigid posture in her that interfered with relational arenas but seemed to elevate and enhance vocational and other leadership arenas.Kept at arm's length my overtures toward a friendship, not surprisingly, were slighted and repeatedly denied. Resignation to a formal relationship based on mutual respect was ours.Nothing more.That's how it was through the years.-----Carly and husband Steve (married 20 years) found their niche as small group leaders of a marriage builder study and worked to fortify and strengthen the "union" of others.Successfully leading countless couples through a six week highly regarded marriage study, they were touted as exemplary role models and outstanding leaders. What Carly lacked for in personalness she made up for in promptness and reliability, and it all sort of balanced out somehow. Steve and Carly maneuvered through life achieving and acquiring the praise of family, friends, and the outside world.They were an exceptional little family.-----And then one day everything changed ... and Carly disappeared.The 20 year marriage ended and the dissolving of a family unit transpired in front of watching eyes and wondering, wandering minds.No more marriage studies.-Mouths that had previously moved mercifully and on mission now moved mischievouly and maliciously.-Rumors circulated and gossip prevailed.-New realities presented themselves escalating and entertaining endless possibilities.But nobody knew Carly's realities,And that was the truth.And Carly slipped away ...And the world received her into its enticing lair and gave her the freedom to breathe again.The church substantially validated its existance insisting on a righteous stance of negating "her" existance.And Carly did what she did because she knew what she knew.-----Carly is knocking at my door.She is hesitant, uncertain, and trembling.She asks if she can hug me ... and we embrace.And she whispers,"I'm sorry."She exposes her heart and an honest exchange takes place.The ticking of a clock packed somewhere in a box seems fitting ...And I can't forget that moment.It is the most holy moment I've ever encountered with an individual in the church.The remembrance of it gives me hope.God was working in Carly's heart to bring her to repentance;No one else could have done that, And I was standing on holy ground and I didn't know it.-----Relegated to our own painful experiences, we become more human, empathetic, and understanding with time.We change in inconceivable ways through inconceivable life events;And we come to become ... a little more like Christ.He changes us,Conforms us,Conditions us, And completes us,Through an extraordinary and supernatural process known only by Him.Redemption is a slow process to understand but it is being realized more fully in my life ... and I come to realize that this is what "true life" is all about.Why am I so slow to understand?-----One day I will knock on Carly's door and whisper,"I'm sorry."I will mean it with all of my heart for a thousand different reasons, And I think she will believe it with all of hers,And we will embrace.-----And He said, "Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."Exodus 3:5*Carly is a fictitious name but a very real woman.