Sunday, April 24, 2011

Another day

It's been another day spent in a darkened room with the right side of my head throbbing and my wandering eye so out of control it feels like my right eye has been stuck in its outer corner. I've been craving a simple Diet Coke but haven't trusted myself to drive even three miles to the nearest grocery.

The same vision impairment kept me from doing what I really wanted today as well. I wanted to go to church. I work every Sunday, and it's made church attendance difficult, but today the boutique was closed. I wanted to hear a sermon on forgiveness, resurrection and salvation. I wanted familiar hymns. I wanted to quietly join in the celebration of the defining act of my faith. Instead, I went it alone. The worship in my head definitely lacked the presentation of a high church service on a high holy day, but I did try to worship. Honestly, it's felt a bit flat, but that's okay. I'll blame the head, and I know that the miracle and grace of Jesus' resurrection is far greater than any mood of mine.

For years, people have told me that you can't really go it alone as a Christian. You have to be part of a community, i.e. a church. They have a point. Having the support and guidance of a community of believers can make things easier. It can provide a little social grease to aid in the transition of the mind and the heart from the mundane to the miraculous. Fellow believers and leaders have challenged and comforted me when I've needed it. I don't know how many times I've gone to church and heard just what I needed to hear in a sermon, been inspired by just another schmo like me trying to truly live their faith well or even felt the comfort of just being with others as we worshiped together. I miss those things. I really do. At the same time, I've always had this feeling that sometimes Christians need to go it alone. It's very powerful when you realize that it's just you and God. It can also be very easy to just get confused and frustrated. I guess I'm still searching for that optimum middle way, and I have to accept that as part of my journey.

The community aspects of church are also what make it hard for me. Not since childhood have the social aspects of church been comfortable for me. The coffee break between Sunday School and the worship service has always been miserable. Standing alone, trying to look friendly, respectable and approachable enough, watching what seems like everybody else engaged in conversations while I stand alone with what is usually a terrible cup of coffee -- it makes me feel like the girl who never got to dance at the high school dances again. If it's been a new church for me to visit, someone will usually say "glad you're here", but I would just love it if someone would take a minute or two to tell me about what's going on that might be helpful to me, like a class for people my age where I won't be the only uncoupled person there. There have been times when going to church made me feel like introversion was just a heinous sin.

I'm rambling now, and I have no real point. I just wanted to write something here tonight. It's a feeble way of reaching out and saying I am here. Hurting, weak, disappointed in myself, but loved by God, I am here.


Blogger Robin said...

I'm so sorry that these headaches continue. What a disappointment for Easter.

As far as church community -- one thing I have learned as a guest preacher this past year is that many congregations feel an awful lot like closed clubs.

April 25, 2011 6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and as always wishing for the best.


April 25, 2011 12:09 PM  
Blogger JACKIE said...

I can relate to Robin's closed club entry. and I can relate to your odd man out description. Sometimes I think I'm a reincarnation of a prickly Irish hermit. In many ways content to gather sea weed from the beach for my little garden. And I'm really terrible at small talk.

Hope you feel better really soon.

April 25, 2011 12:44 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

It is an unfortunate characteristic of human interaction that communities that start out open and friendly soon become those closed clubs that Robin is talking about. The only church I ever felt a part of was one in which I was basically one of the original members. Started out as a "home church" (met in the homes of the members because we had no church building.) We had many meetings in our own living room, back in the day.

Oddly enough, when the church grew to a "respectable" size, got a building and a "real" pastor, most of the original members left. It was definitely a case of "smaller was better." Big churches just...don't cut it for many people.

Perhaps you could do some research and find out if there is a home group meeting somewhere around you.

As far as community vs one-on-one-with-the-Spirit, I have definitely chosen the latter. For me, anyway, church communities offer more negatives than positives.

April 25, 2011 1:37 PM  
Blogger Virginia said...

I can relate in part to your description of "going it alone" albeit not in the same context. With a belief system so far out of the norm of our society, there are very few people, save Judi, who even understand the world and the creatures that live in it the way I do. Its a very lonely feeling as there is almost no one to talk to who would not just laugh at me if I started a sentence, "I was listening to a tree the other day....."


April 25, 2011 8:34 PM  
Blogger Nelle said...

This is why I have basically stopped going to church. I never seem to be able to tough it out long enough to be part of that "inner circle" and at times I have been glad for that. I have seen far too many people who call each other to pray for things but seem to enjoy passing on the gossipy details. Not for me. My Mom attends a church and when my father was so bad off the visits became fewer and fewer and I felt they could have done so much more. I would rather attend a church when I want to and know nothing of the parishioners there. They are flawed as am I but I don't try to claim to be anyone other than who I am. I am at peace with that.
Hope your headaches stop soon and that your electricity is back again soon.

April 26, 2011 5:58 AM  
Blogger redsneakz said...

There is something about the nature of social groupings of any kind, whether religious congregations or clubs that there grow small circles of friendships/acquaintainces/power groupings. There always seem to be insiders and outsiders, and like you, I usually feel an outsider. But, it's a comfortable place to be for me.

The Jewish philosophy (to use a common word) about prayer is very different, in many ways, than Christian worship. There are communal aspects and individual aspects, just like in Christian services, but the feeling is altogether different. I need to think about this more. As always, Cynthia, you've made me ponder. Thank you, and do feel better.

April 28, 2011 11:16 PM  

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