Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Re-churching: Celebrating Laughter and Tears



(A recent Sunday. The pastor, speaking about the Tower of Babel and why God confused the people’s language)

Rachel: That’s why I don’t understand you.

(The pastor, talking about unity in the church and how the Holy Spirit makes it possible)

Me: That’s how I put up with you.
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See, the Bible is applicable to the present day.





And…

Isn’t it wonderful when you have a friend that just “gets you?” Or maybe she doesn’t get me but she goes along anyway!

After the informal meeting with PK a few weeks ago, I had turned back to Zac and Rachel, whom I had sat with during service. Rachel was talking with others at the moment but Zac saw that tears were in my eyes and asked if I was okay. I was okay. I appreciated that he asked me though. Despite how it may seem, with our play-fighting, Zac and I have become good friends as well. We can and do have more serious conversations and care for each other.

So I adore both Zac and Rachel. I will say this for the rest of my life: I was so honored to have been a part of their wedding party. I would do just about anything they ask me to do (just don’t tell them I wrote that- haha).
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Sigh. So.

I have been taking the re-churching process slowly and not-quite-surely. I have not gone each week since starting in July. I sort of wait to see if Rachel texts me, because if she doesn’t then I assume she’s not going and I stay home, which I know is not … right to do, but it’s where I am for now.

Our church celebrated its 100th anniversary this past weekend. I missed Friday but went for Saturday and Sunday.

… I didn’t really want to be there, but… it’s important, a necessary part of life at times that one must do that which they do not want to do.

… And I knew that Rachel, and maybe a few others, were counting on me to be there.

Despite sounding very self-centered at times with this journal, I do think very much about others and can be motivated in that way, that God may want to use me to support someone else. I simply stay clear as much as possible from gossiping, even with this journal that they most likely are not reading, even though I hear a lot and witness a lot, and even though I am sometimes asked questions about other people. So, default: talk about myself, even though I don’t like doing that either.

Saturday was a community fair from morning to afternoon. I stayed mostly with Rachel, Zac, and Mama G (Rachel’s mom); the whole family has adopted me, even though my own mom is at this same church and there’s a story about this, as usual. We missed Genesis in the dunk tank but made it to see Zac on the plank.


I got asked several times if I was Jennifer. And then a few of the inquirers introduced or reminded me who they were… and I knew who they were! Haha – I didn’t think I looked much different or that 2 years away would cause such wonder!

It was a good day, but tiring and by the end I had a terrible headache. Still, I cried and cried myself to sleep that night.
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Rachel texted the next morning, so I got my weak body up and ready to go.

During service, I sat with Rachel and Zac. It was nice singing worship along with them. I still had a headache though.

We stayed for the church picture and lunch. I got to see some folks I hadn’t seen in a while and got to know a few regulars better. Twice, I got the “I didn’t know [Mom] was/is your mother!” This is because Mom does her thing and I do my own thing, and because Mom is sometimes difficult to keep track of- she’s here, they think they saw her there, and then she’s over in the other place, etc. That is the story of why the G Family has “adopted” me; Mom knows and understands.

At lunch, I finally met the marvelous Nancy; I had been waiting and wanting to meet her. Within months of de-churching, Nancy had sent me a handwritten note full of comfort, encouragement, care, and purpose, all for me; God’s thoughts and her thoughts for me. I carry it with me so that I would remember. She is one of my heroes now and forever.

You never know who’s watching, but someone is.

PK took the opportunity to talk with me again, reiterating that he is at my service. I just still don’t know… that anything can be done. I mean, I am glad to reconnect with PK, and I had held some faith and benefit of the doubt for him before it. For now, I told him that I don’t know yet and that I am still quite tired.

In the bigger picture, I’m still discerning my way and who truly cares and who I can trust and who I can’t trust and who doesn’t give a rip; it’s all very overwhelming for me. And confusing.

So I still don’t have an answer for PK, as to what might be done. I think in other areas, with other people, especially the ones who did the hurting… I’m still looking for some sign of hope that things can and will get better. I didn’t tell PK all of this but I was thinking and I started to cry more.

PK gave me credit for being brave and strong in coming back, and it was much needed credit, because another part of the reason I had walked away was … not having been given the benefit of the doubt, or any credit for the things that I did well, or the effort I made, but I will talk more about this in future posts.

Gladly, I was given some relief in that, still crying after this more recent PK encounter, I was welcomed by Rachel again. We were both in tears for one reason or another.

But we also kept each other laughing too!

By this moment, we were serious talking and crying AND not-so-serious laughing all at once. We were in hysterics for some time.

Then we spent time at their place. The guys were passed out. Rachel and I took a little longer to wind down. I still had the headache and then felt a little nauseated but they took good care of me. Zac had pointed out the vog, so that had been the culprit for the headache (always happens with vog) but I am not certain about the nausea.
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Later, Rachel took me back to church to meet Mom so we could go home. Mom wasn’t quite as finished at church as she had led me to believe. I helped her with what I could, and then saw that people were still taking down things by the sanctuary. I went down to check it out.

I helped a little with picking up some blocks for something, and then saw nothing else obvious so I asked Ray if there was anything I could help with but he said no. He then talked to me for a few minutes, just reminding me of God’s love for me and how I can forgive myself because God already has and a few other things I really needed to hear, like how Ray sees my good heart – more crying. When we were done, I walked slowly back up to Mom, crying and thinking and thinking and crying.

We finally got home. I still had the headache. I went to sleep.
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It’s not easy. I don’t have to tell you that. Life is going to knock you over.

What I can tell you is that even when it’s difficult, you are not alone. You can always reach out to God (he will be present), and then if you need someone more physical, you can reach out to me.

Even though I struggle with more than I share here, I have also been able to be present for others whom are/ were struggling with their own things. People, like the G Family and Nancy, have been present for me along the way, blessing me, and I also think that God has allowed me to go through certain things so that I can be present for others, to pass on the blessing.

I mean, God’s been working this in me since at least 2008 when I finally let him. I think I’m growing.

I wished I could have fully celebrated with the church, but that was too difficult, things being what they are. I’m still in the place of crying from pain rather than in joy, but I have to believe that joy-crying is possible!

Yet, I will remember and cherish the memories of celebrating laughter and tears with great friends and new friends.

I thank God and I thank you all.




P.S. After such a long and heavy post, you deserve a positive message – in song form! This song describes, along with many others, where I was, where I am, and where I’m heading and I hope you come along!




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