Today was the last day for my church service.
That’s not entirely true. It’s going to go on for a couple more weeks, but I won’t be able to go due to travel plans.
Today, we got to celebrate Ann’s first Mother’s Day and Sage’s dedication ceremony at this service that I will never see again. Sage was the only one dedicated in our service, which takes place (took place) in a different room than the main service. She was the last child to be dedicated in the Sojourn venue.
A lot of people want to talk about what the next steps are. We all feel a loss with our service being shut down, but I almost feel at times like I’m the only one taking it as hard as I’m taking it. I can’t even talk about it yet because I feel so hurt and even so betrayed by this that I fear I would lash out with nothing but venom, even towards those who aren’t to blame and are simply trying to make me feel better.
It’s like dealing with a death. You don’t want to hear people saying things like “God has a plan” because right now, that doesn’t help. You don’t want people suggesting that you can come to terms and find some peace, because right now I don’t want to find peace with this, I want my service back.
Today’s sermon was all about how you need to belong to a church, and it was only the presence of so much family that stopped me from hollering at the video screen, “Then don’t cancel mine!”
My church service — the only one that has ever felt like home in my thirty-five years of life — is ending. People have asked me what I’m going to do next. And so far, the only answer I can give is that I don’t plan on going to the “new” version of my church (I’m going to have to get used to calling it my former church), and I don’t want to go church shopping, so for right now? Nothing.
And I hate that.
But I hate the other options more, right now.
This isn’t a good blog post. There are too many emotions roiling around in here on this topic for me to express it coherently or in a logical order. So maybe it is a good blog post, in that it’s very real?
People tell me I’ll come around. Or I just need to give it a couple chances to see if maybe it’ll work for me. Or that I’ll find another service. Or this. Or that. Or the other.
And I can’t even express what I want out of this. I don’t want acknowledgement that I’m hurt; I’ve already gotten that, and it makes no difference. I don’t want an apology, because what good would that do when they don’t feel like they’re doing anything wrong (and realistically, they’re probably not)?
I think I just want to keep the illusion that what I want matters. I want to believe that I’m important to the organizations that I support and that I participate in. I found out that wasn’t true at work when they had a corporate reorganization and my position disappeared, sticking me in a job that I hate; even the worst day in my old job was better than the best day in this job. Now my church has basically taken the same course.
None of it is personal, and that almost makes it worse. If there had been a serious issue with my performance at work, or even a severe philosophical or personality conflict with my superiors, I could at least stand up and say that I was a character in that story. If my church service had somehow threatened church leadership or had otherwise been subversive or controversial, I was a character in that story. Instead, in both cases, I’m at best an extra, and at worst I’m exposition that gets cut in the final edit. (After all, when a character lives in an old abadoned factory, you don’t really care about the details of the lives of the factory workers thirty years back.)
To use lines that I’ve heard and said often enough that they feel hackneyed… I really do believe that every exit is an entrance to somewhere else, and I really do believe that every beginning comes from something else ending. So I know this is a beginning.
I just don’t know if what’s beginning is going to be good or bad. And I don’t know how to be open to it when all I can think is, “What if I’m not a character in this story either?”