I’m not a fan of change. (Don’t tell my life that…) I like traditions and rituals and marking when I’ve been somewhere or doing something for a certain number of years. If I could, I think I’d freeze time and stay put and never move and never have my children move out and never let any of my friends ever leave me, ever.
But life is hard and funny and strange and change is about all you can really count on.
And last Thanksgiving Eve, I spent my nineteenth and final Thanksgiving Eve at my former church. And tonight, I will be sitting in my living room, while my children go to that service on what would’ve been my twentieth year, and I will be doing something different.
Today has been a weird day. I am super hormonal. And I am totally on edge. And I voicemail-/text-argued with someone for about an hour. And, I realized as I sobbed in the shower completely out of the blue, I am totally grieving the loss of my church and being in weekly community with my dear friends.
Yes, I can say that I truly believe what my enemy meant for harm Jesus has turned into something beautiful. I never would’ve left that church if a few certain things hadn’t happened, and yes, I can say a year later, I feel that my church was in part stolen from me, but I can also see that some very sweet, deep good things have been happening in my new church that would never have happened had I stayed.
But it’s not the same. And nineteen years is something to grieve. And I still feel a little bit lost, a little bit in-between while I wait for time to do its part in healing me and deepening relationships in the new place. And this morning I remembered one moment from about three years ago that sent me over the edge.
It was sometime mid-separation and I had dragged myself to church yet again, all sad and sick to my stomach and lonely. And one of my best friends walked over to me, and placed her hand on the back of my head. And I crumpled under the gentleness of that moment and started to cry and couldn’t stop. Bless her heart, she just meant to comfort me (and she truly did) but that tenderness undid me. And this morning that memory came flooding over me as if it were happening in real time and I was struck with such a sense of profound loss and grieving over missing my church and my friends and those moments.
I can’t go back. There is no going back to what my life used to look like. And most days, I wouldn’t want to. But today, as much as I am giving all this to Jesus and trying to thank him in the midst and reminding myself of God’s goodness and faithfulness and love and how he is healing me and making me new, I am sad. I am grateful but I am sad. And sometimes that’s really okay.