Endings and Beginnings

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.

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?”

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16 Responses to Endings and Beginnings

  1. Betty Navta says:

    You’re always the main character in Your story. And that’s the story that is continuing. And the one that counts.

  2. Angela says:

    Even though you may not have a choice over what’s happening to you now, you do have a choice in what you do next. So, give yourself a little time, and then think about what kind of beginning you will create.

    • strangedavid says:

      Similar to my reply to Betty above: I don’t disagree with you. My struggle is that I have choices, but they ultimately feel ineffectual on any real outcome. I’m tired of having things I love taken away from me, and it makes me really gun-shy about becoming attached to anything else.

  3. hellohilary says:

    I’m glad you felt comfortable enough to post. Every once in a while, it’s good to hear some raw emotion instead of clearly thought out ideas.

    On that thought…I’m so sorry your service is being cut. I have enjoyed it the few times that we have attended. I think it’s a stupid idea and stupid reasoning that is only going to alienate the hundred or so people that attended that service. It doesn’t make sense to me.

    • strangedavid says:

      Thank you; I appreciate the support. I understand what they’re doing, even though I disagree with it. And that kind of sucks, because I want someone specific to be mad at, and I really don’t have that.

  4. Kendra says:

    I’m sorry for the loss of your homes.

  5. Thank you for sharing. I agree with a previous poster. Sometimes you can’t plot out what you want to write. You just have to write it. I do see a small gift was given to you on the last day of your service. Your first born was able to participate in something you found important. Her dedication ceremony is the beginning of her faith. I am sure you will find a home that is appropriate to nurture her journey. Peace and light!

  6. sara says:

    Urgh. This blows. Keep us in the loop on what you guys decide to do next.

    • strangedavid says:

      At this point, Ann intends to stick with it for a while. We’re not on the same page, but we aren’t upset with the other one for that, and we’re respecting one another’s decisions. Right now, I’m just staying home.

      • hellohilary says:

        Or you’re coming to our house and protesting church with us while Ann goes.

      • strangedavid says:

        I can’t say I’m looking to “protest,” exactly… but once that baby’s around, we’ll figure out whether Sunday morning visits make sense. 🙂

      • Kendra says:

        This is none of my business, but can I just say how awesome I think it is that you and Ann are able to find respect and room for both of you to make different decisions when it comes to your spiritual journeys and expressions of faith? I know of so many couples who get hung up on this and do serious damage to each other and their marriage by hanging on to the idea that spouses must be in absolute spiritual lockstep with each other and anything else is a sign of “failure” (even with something as simple as whether to stand or remain seated during a hymn). Thanks for being able to let each other be on different pages in this.

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