Saturday, June 10, 2006

@#$!%& crazy

All week long I've been revisiting my decision to leave the little Episcopal church where I've worshiped most often for the past year and a half, which has been "my" church more than any other during this time. I'm sad about leaving and yet every time I thought about it, I felt even more convinced that it is time to move on. Last Sunday I said goodbye in my head; yesterday I picked up the phone and made it official.

I wanted to explain why I wouldn't be voting at their meeting tomorrow, and why I didn't expect to be back after that. It was a short but good conversation. I said everything I wanted to say (which doesn't always happen with me and which is why I usually prefer writing to speaking). Then I hung up and asked myself if I had totally lost my @#$!%& mind. I mean, I go looking for a church, find a place that manages to provide most of what I could hope for, where I am truly welcomed, and then in response I give it back because it turns out to be not quite perfect enough for me?

But I had to. I'm sad about that decision, but happy, too. (I really am @#$!%& crazy!) Even it wasn't the right place for me in the long run, it was the right place to be while I was there. When I was hurting and needed a place to settle for a while, those folks took me in as if I belonged there, and they will always have a special place in my heart. I’ll also always ask myself if it was fair to take from them as much as I did, but I tried to give back as I could; I hope it was enough.

Some things I've learned: That wonderful church communities do exist. That being a community of faith is about knowing each other but even more about praying together. That God is good. That trying to know love and serve God is an amazing adventure best undertaken in the company of others, and that even in our sorry world people all over the place are seriously trying to do just that. That you don't have to stay stuck where you are if it isn't the right place to be. I’ve watched a church community struggle with its own joys and sorrows, through birth and death and betrayal and the departure of longtime members. I've come to know a gifted woman priest, been part of a faith community that welcomed gay and lesbian men and women as if they were regular people, that was focused more on bringing people to the Eucharistic table than standing at the gate and announcing who would be excluded.

I should feel good about having narrowed my church choices a bit, but I’m not sure I do. Sometimes, when I look at the churches that are left on my list, I can almost imagine myself settling down in my local Catholic parish--and then I think of those three last things among others and I can’t see how that could ever feel right.


At 7:44 AM, Blogger Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Hi One Foot,

Welcome to the RevGals!

I really resonated with your post. I recently had to leave a church that I love and have struggled a bit in the process, but have come to some peace with my new church. (It, too, is Episcopal!)

Glad to have you on board.


At 9:46 AM, Blogger Sophia said...

Hi One Foot and welcome to the RevGals ring!

I hope you will find that being part of this group helps you on your journey.

I just read through some of your blog and I think it's very insightful writing. I have a special place in my heart for anyone who's seeking a spiritual home. I've been there, and it isn't easy!

Funny thing is, now I'm a postulant to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. You never know...

Looking forward to coming back and reading what you say next! :-)

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Lorna said...

it isn't easy, isn't always a blast but God is good. And your church family showed that to you. I'm glad

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Psalmist said...

Hugs to you, One Foot.

We're "twinsies" on the Rev Gals list (joined the same time).

I ache for you in your struggle to find the home you long for within the church. My situation is somewhat different as a United Methodist, but I've had to face head-on the possibility that this life-long "home place" may not always be where I belong. But there is an "other side" to come out of, I'm certain of it. I didn't expect to be changed in the ways I was while going that part of my journey, but it was worth it.

May God be with you in a close and loving way.



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