This morning I wasn’t planning on going to church. I woke up a few minutes after 9, and even though I haven’t been getting to church every Sunday morning at 8:00 for over 3 years, I guess I still forget that lots of services don’t even start until 10:30 or 11:00, which leaves time to get up, do some morning things, and still have time to get ready for church. So, anyway, at 10:45 I decided I might as well go.
This sounds like I am very apathetic about church, but that’s not true. I love church, but I haven’t been able to find one that I feel comfortable at in Williamsburg, even after 2 years. On many Sunday mornings during school I end up skipping because I’d rather catch up on sleep or reading than sit awkwardly through an hour of what feels like insincere worship, and church “shopping” is tiring and way harder than you’d think. But, this morning I decided to give the church right up the street another chance. Actually, I wasn’t really expecting anything different, I just wanted to go to church and it is very close.
I arrived just after 11:00, and sat down, unnoticed and ungreeted, next to an elderly woman (not a huge surprise there). I don’t really know why, but almost the minute after I signed the attendance pad, I began to have all sorts of feelings. The whole place felt stuffy and the service overly-rehearsed. I felt alienated from the other 200 people in the sanctuary. It seemed like I wouldn’t find the joy in that place if my life depended on it, and that is pretty bad considering it is God’s house where people go to learn about JESUS, who is supposed to be our best friend and the source of our JOY. Being there this morning also just reminded me of how much I miss being a part of a faith community. Even though I complained about how much work being at church sometimes was for our family, growing up I LOVED being there. There just was something so special about the way I felt each Sunday morning being at Fieldstone. When I moved to college, both in DC and Williamsburg, I had a hard time finding a church, and have since really missed having a group of people to support and encourage me, and for whom I can do the same.
To make a long story (or at least thought-process) short, I ended up leaving the service early. Yes, I slipped out the back about halfway through, just after the pastor finished the message. I don’t think I have ever done this before, so it felt kind of strange, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to hold my emotions in if I didn’t leave ASAP. I miss having a church home and seeing friendly, loving faces each Sunday morning; and, I miss being involved with a church community.
The past year or so when I would call Nanny to catch up, she would always ask me if I’d been going to church. I would usually answer no, explaining that I hadn’t found one that felt comfortable or “right.” She always responded that it’s not always about us feeling comfortable or being our style, it’s about worshiping God. This is something that I always remember when, on Saturday night, I’m deciding whether or not I will get up in the morning for church. I agree that as far as worship styles, etc. go, it is not always about our preferences, as long as we are praising God. At the same time, I think that when we’re looking for a faith community to grow in and with, it sometimes is about our preferences. We want to feel comfortable enough around others that we can share our joys and concerns, and really get to know one another; and, we want to grow in faith with those who share our beliefs and thoughts about how Jesus wants us to live.
I am rambling on about this a lot. I don’t know if I should just suck it up or what. That might be the answer to a lot of my “problems.” This is probably not going to make sense, but since I am the author of this blog, I think it’s OK– Mostly I think I wrote all of that above just to say that today I am missing summer and living in Charleston and my coworkers and friends and churches filled with inviting, loving people and also our dogs (especially since I watched Marley and Me for the first time last night).