And now for something completely different…

Every day, a daily devotional shows up in my inbox.

Every day I read it.

This morning I opened up and was reminded it is Lent. Lent is probably my favorite season in the church. The why is complicated, but it is.  I never miss Ash Wednesday, try to make it to every Wednesday night service, and for the longest time, I never missed a Sunday if I could help it.

Except this year.  When I was in grad school, I found a church and I went every Sunday, I joined the choir and handbell choir.  I helped out in any way I could.  I formed some very strong friendships there. Then I moved.

I haven’t been to church since April, barring major holidays. I can’t do it. The handful of times I’ve gone, I get about halfway through the service and I want to cry.  It’s miserable. The feeling, not the service. Part of it is because I know the odds of finding a place like I had before around here aren’t very good.  Part of it is I miss the people. Part of it is because the music gets me.   And part of it…every time I walk into church now I feel like I need to hide.  My home church lost the warm fuzzy feeling years ago, not sure it ever really had it.  The me they know there was never the me that I am.

The me now is so messy and complicated and uncertain. I live in a place where mental illness isn’t spoken of.  I have a job where I’m told that no matter where I go, I’m a representative of the organization. That what I say and do impacts donations and the like.  There is no separation.  I don’t know how much is just me being afraid of being close to people, and how much is legit fear. I already drive to the next town over to fill my prescriptions.  I don’t like feeling like I need to drive to the next town over to go to church.

Because I know me.  If I start to become part of a church community, I’ll last about two weeks before I want to share what I’m going through. For better or worse, that’s the way it is.

I hope that one day, I realize that I’m making a much bigger deal out of this than it needs to be. I hope that one day I find the courage to go back. I hope that one day I find the courage to try and be a part of this town.  I hope that one day I can believe that I can be accepted around here, the good and bad parts.

I hate feeling like I need to hide.

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2 Responses to And now for something completely different…

  1. Weird that you posted this today… I just for the first time today opened up about my struggle with mental illness to a woman at my church, and I was SCARED OUT OF MY MIND. It actually went really well, though. She was incredibly supportive. God gives us church communities to support one another. This battle is too big to fight alone. Yes, God is with you through it, but He also gives you tools such as community to help you weather the storm. I’ll be praying for you and for me and for all of us who feel like we have to suffer in silence.

    • Church is where I started to learn to deal with this. Losing that was hard. Taking a risk by going somewhere that might not be as supportive…that’s hard too.

      Hold onto those people who are truly supportive. They aren’t always easy to find.

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