I walked out of church today. I have never in all my life walked out of church in the middle of church. It was a perfect storm that I hadn’t seen brewing.
I was there without my kids. Again. Hands down, of all the things that are shaking out in my divorce, this is in my top three things I hate, that I mourn regularly.
It is Father’s Day. And needless to say, Father’s Day on this side of our new family dynamic leaves a bit of a sting.
But those reasons weren’t why I left.
It is baptism Sunday today. I love baptism Sundays. I love that family members and friends come up on stage and surround the tank in support of their loved one. I love that we sing while the people are being baptized and the shouts and whoops of celebration after they come back out of the water. I love that it represents new life and hope and that Jesus does still call, does still heal. And I love the stories.
But today was different. At least half of those being baptized this morning were grown men. And there’s something about a grown man telling his story of brokenness and coming to Jesus and being in the process of being made whole that gets to me. And boy did it get to me today. Seeing one man after another walk up those steps and into that water was too much for me to handle.
I tried. I really did. I kept singing. I stopped looking at the stage. But I felt near sobs rise up and stick in my throat. And there was no way I was going to start crying in the middle of the service, sitting alone. Yes, yes, church is supposed to be a place where you can cry. And trust me, I have cried my share of tears in that place over the past eighteen plus years. But I wasn’t going to cry today.
Because what would I have said? That though it’s wonderful for them, it’s far too painful for me to watch grown men say they need Jesus and have turned to him and asked for help and got it? Then why don’t all men do this?
I knew I couldn’t sit there. And I knew I couldn’t stop myself from crying.
So this forty-one-year-old woman picked up her purse and left in the middle of church. I knew Jesus would understand.