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Can’t I just be a Christian who doesn’t attend church?
I mean, what’s the big deal, anyway? I have Christian friends. I assemble with them… for coffee, shopping, talking, etc. That ought to count.
Today I was sitting in a pew, and it filled up to my left, and I was on the very end on the right. And during singing, a woman came and wanted to talk to the person to my left, and pushed me right out of the pew. So I gathered my things and left. What was I supposed to do? Stand in the aisle until she was done? Was she going to finish?
It’s not like I enjoy going to church lately, anyway. I’ve been going because I felt like I should, because everyone says it’s important. But I don’t fit in. And not just in general, apparently physically I don’t fit in, either. (ha)
I had tried a community group last week which was suggested by the pastor. It was awful: a bunch of women, sitting around crying, using Scripture indiscriminately. No way. Not going to work.
I just want a place to belong.
I am angry.
I am angry at the ever present, ever influential, ever toxic he that infiltrates my life and thoughts despite a lack of permission.
This he is not just one, but all. All who have ever taken advantage of me, who have abused me, who have betrayed, injured, not cared for me.
The he who molested me when I was 3. Everyone who knew but did nothing.
The he‘s of high school and college who said/did/attempted unwanted things and got away with it.
The he who was a trusted mentor, who betrayed me from the first, yet tricked me into trust until years later when he (a married Bible teacher with a child, whom I viewed with complete naivety and completely platonic) propositioned me, and yet still got away with it even though I did everything right, through all the right channels.
Every he who has not protected me but has either hurt me himself or watched as others did.
I have physical memories that I do not consciously remember but which prevent me from physical intimacy. Worse, I have spiritual betrayal that has destroyed my trust in men, in Christian men in particular. Betrayal that has left me bereft and empty. Betrayal that still makes it hard to pray, read my Bible, desire to grow in faith. I feel distant from God, but it is not God who is distant. It is my own inability to allow Him to be close.
And I am angry about it.
In many ways, I am better than I was. I’ve found a new church and have gone three times. And you know what made me go back after the first time? The week before, one of their pastors was arrested in a police sting as he attempted to solicit an underage prostitute. This is not good, obviously. I did not know about it, but when I showed up, the service was the main pastor talking about it: how you had to be in the middle of truth (stone him, the heinous man) and grace (forgive it all). How the Church is made up of sinners, each of us is capable of doing awful things, but none of us wake up one morning and decide to do those things out of the blue. We take small steps of compromise, and instead need to ensure we are walking in the Light of Christ, in the fellowship of other Believers, being open and accountable to each other.
This pastor handled it exactly as it should be: honestly, openly, truthfully. He did not hide it or minimize.
And so I went back. I sit by myself (surrounded by strangers). Sometimes I sing, but mostly I just listen. I leave as soon as service is over. But I’m there. I view every man in the congregation as suspect. But I am there.
It is a step, perhaps small to you, but huge to me.
I want to be well again. I want to believe I might be able to trust again someday. I want to know I can approach God with an open heart.
I don’t want to be angry.
But I am.
This last weekend I took a continuing education course in Excel through my local community college. It was surprisingly good, and I’m really glad I did it. This is something I can put on my resume, and it gives me more confidence in the one program in the Microsoft Office Suite that I felt very unsure about. Now all I have to do is secure a job, and I’ll be set.
Or, you know, go back to school for a useful certificate/degree.
I also went to church this Sunday. A new one. It was also surprisingly good. I think I will go back for sure. And I’m looking forward to going back. It was time.
That’s all. Life is just one big jumble of trying to find motivation to find a job, in the midst of doing all the little things I want to get done.
I can’t tell if I simply like being single or if it’s all my issues that make me want to be single. In the end, it doesn’t matter, because it’s one in the same until I can figure it out.
But I won’t extol the virtues of singleness again for you. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve read it before.
Today I broke my toe. Well, I didn’t break it. A lid to a rice cooker fell on it. Blast. At least toes don’t need doctors. Since I don’t have any insurance. Also, my toes get broken a lot.
I made mini cinnamon rolls and froze most of them (before cooking). They’re so tiny. And so delicious. And so dang cute.
I know I should go back to church, but I’m not sure I care anymore.
I still don’t know when the ol’ oral defense for my thesis is, but I did email my program adviser today to ask. I keep hoping he’ll email soon. Maybe tomorrow.
I have sent off my thesis to Staples to be printed and picked up tomorrow. Four copies: one for me, three for them. I’ll also mail it tomorrow. I am so close, folks!
My Sophie kitten is an emotional eater, but when she’s happy. She starts purring, feeling good, then goes to eat, all the while purring away.
My dad calls Shelby “Sheba” because he says she’s the “queen cat.” It’s true. She is. The thing is, the other two kittens don’t seem to care… I mean, Shelby tells them what-for all the time. They’re just sort of indifferent. So, it’s like she’s asserting herself all the time, letting them know she’s the top cat, and they’re just basically unaware. It’s funny.
Okay, really, men? You’re going to send me a message that says something along the lines of “you’re pretty, let’s go out” or “you’re hot, I’m a nice guy, let’s chat.” ??? And you think that will entice me to write you back? I ignore those messages, every time. I can’t even find it within myself to feel flattered because I’m fairly certain it’s a message you send to everyone, and really, it’s insulting. Write something that proves you’ve read my profile. Write something that gives me a reason to take the time to write back.
Although, I can only go on multiple dates with one person at a time. So, in theory, I could go on a bunch of first dates with multiple men. But once I start going on more than one date with a person, I wouldn’t be able to do first dates anymore, unless I stopped going on dates with the one person. (Wow, syntactically that was a confusing sentence, yes?) I’d love to be the person who goes on dates with multiple men, but it’s just not in me.
I might get to see one of my Canadian friends today!! He’s driving through and the plan is for us to get together when he’s passing by.
I went to church last night. The new pastor is… interesting. I’m trying to decide if I should just stick it out until I know where I’m going to live, or find a new church now with the knowledge that I might have to change if I move. Ugh.
Have a great day, everyone.
I am jealous of the writers that write best-sellers with their first novel. I am jealous of their talent, their creativity, their perseverance, their luck. I should discipline myself to write every day, to be persistent, to work on creating the ideas that I have never put down to paper.
Today I am convinced that I should have completed my Nursing education… If not the first time, then instead of going to seminary, when I re-considered beginning the program again. I could be gainfully employed right now. I might not love it, but will I love any job I take at this point? Besides, I could have taken my skills overseas, and that would have made it worth it.
I am obsessing and worrying over things that I have no good reason to obsess or worry.
I need to go back to church. Regardless of how hard it will be. I need to start this coming Sunday, no excuses. I’ll just go back to my old church and suck it up. It’ll get easier every time I go. (I even just wrote it in my planner, which as you should know, means it will happen.) I suppose, along these lines, that I need to start reading my Bible again. I’ve let my discipline lapse in my emotional quagmire, but how will I ever fully get out of it unless I’m actively pursuing Christ?
If you’re of the praying sort, keep my job search in your prayers.
[Quick side note: How dumb do spammers think I am? Every time I see a spam comment (in my junk folder), I am reminded of a friend's post on this very subject...]
My kitten seems to be adjusting well to her new home. And she’s stopped bullying my sister’s kitten, which is also good. Now I just have to get her to quit climbing the furniture.
I quit my job at Macy’s. Before I began. Long story short: the job was nothing like they said it would be when I was hired (including hours, hours per week, etc), and then it turned out to be a union job, which would take around 1/4 of my paycheck every month with the hours they would have me work. So not worth it. I’m just not going to worry about a job until after this thesis thing is done.
I think I’m going to go to church tonight.
Thesis wise, as soon as I’ve written a cogent thesis statement and re-worked my outline, I am ready to start writing. Woo hoo!
A conversation with my dad, Sunday afternoon:
Dad: So this might be none of my business, and just tell me to butt out if you want, but are you ever going to go back to church?
Me: [cue nervousness] Um, probably. I don’t think I care about going as much as you and Mom do…
Dad: Is there anything I should know?
Dad: It just seems weird, you finishing up a seminary degree, and not going to church. You aren’t losing your faith, are you?
Me: No… My faith is fine. I just don’t like Christians.
It’s weird when my parents try to parent me. And when they add matters of faith to the mix. Because I’ve never considered them great examples… Sure they have the outward stuff down, but I’ve yet to see evidence of the inward. And I’m not saying it’s not there. I’m saying my parents live in secrets. They don’t share or open up about anything. So how would I know?
And I did try to go to church that Sunday evening (unbeknownst to them). But during the announcements, they were saying how this fall they’re starting “Men’s Fraternity” back up. And this year they’ll be studying Jesus’ life to see how he lived as a man in order to see how they should live as men. And I left. That’s exactly what my thesis is fighting against. (Well, it’s one of the things.)
In other news, I don’t think I’m going to go to Ecuador. I think the lure of a job (if I can find one!), my own place, a truck, a pet (or two), and free time is too strong a lure to resist. Counseling, time to try to write a book… Those are bonuses I cannot deny.
Now all I have to do is actually write my thesis.
Last night I stayed out until 4am dancing. Well, I didn’t go out dancing until midnight. I know I’m almost 30, but apparently I’m trying to recapture part of my youth. The part that I never captured in the first place.
I also woke up at 7:30am (earlier than I intended) and held babies in the nursery at church. They were sleepy; I was sleepy. It was a good match.
I meant to take a nap today. But it was so beautiful outside that I decided to clean my apartment. I know, weird conclusion, but it’s how I work.
And then I had to cook for the week. My stewed chicken is tasting delightful. It’s going to be another good week of Dominican dishes.
I also meant to finish homework, but I’ve decided that if I don’t get straight A’s, it’s okay. I am not defined by my grades.
I’m not ready to face the week.