Sunday, May 30, 2010

Still a Challenge

I went back to my home church today, for the first time in a very long time.

I realized how much I miss many, many things about it. 

But it's still so hard.

It's Trinity Sunday, and so we sang Holy, Holy, Holy.  

That was the opening hymn for Josh's funeral service, because it is the opening hymn every Sunday at Chautauqua.  When my kids got old enough to complain about accompanying us to the ampitheater service there ever summer, I told them that one day when they were old and still doing the same thing, they would look back with gratitude.

Guess I was wrong about that.

We've only been to Chautauqua once since Josh died, and that was to scatter some of his ashes into the lake on the first Thanksgiving.  I'd like to go back for at least a day of BBT's preaching this summer, but I'm not sure that I'm up to it.

I can't figure out where to sit in church.  No matter where I try, the memories of that service 21 months ago feel like a physical invasion.

When I skipped Pentecost last week, Gabriele wrote that by this time of year she is longing for the green of ordinary time.

Yes.  It seems to me that ordinary time is quite complicated enough.


  1. I have had parishioners tell me that they can't come back to church after the death and funeral of a loved one. Other parishioners would comlain to me about that, as if there was something wrong with the person, or wrong with the church. ANd sometimes there was something wrong with the church and its lack of compassion and response. But often it was just a source of sorrow and painful memories and loss. I took to visiting people in their homes, bring in them communion, bringing church to them, so to speak. Not that this is what you want or need, but rather I wonder how one of the places that is supposed to be a source of love and compassion can still be that when the building has become filled with other memories? I guess I'm beginning to think of church without walls. Anyway, I digress. I too find going to church to be a difficult, even painful experience, albeit for very different reasons. Love to you as this ordinary time unfolds.

  2. As I am getting older, and my life is also (like many church buildings) filled with loss and sadness as well as other memories, I find that I just feel more a-part-of all of it.

    I don't know if that makes sense, but where I once felt very much isolated, outside of, and apart-from because of my own loss, pain and grief, I am now feeling that most everyone around me is probably suffering some unnamed (and unknown to me) grief of some sort. And I feel like we are connected through it.

    Even though I don't know it. And many times I don't want to know it. I'm full.

    I find that strangely comforting. Not in a way where "gee, isn't it all great we have lost our loved ones" but more of a compassion and humble sense of being one in a family of brokenness.

    No longer the pressure of perfection to worry with.

    And I am in 100% agreement about being ready for Ordinary Time.