While I love serving as the bouncer in the nursery at church, I just took a leave of absence.
Why? Mainly because of work and my schedule that gets thrown about at the last minute (like this weekend….again!). So to save time and face, I figured it’d be easier if I wasn’t counted on being there. Hopefully work will stabilize and I’ll get back to a regularly scheduled schedule. Not to mention the trip I’m going to take back in time at the beginning of August would conflict, too. More about that later.
That’s the surface reason I described to them. There are some sub-plots that are playing into this as well. One, is the reality of something I’ve found at this church: it’s a conglomeration of cliques (other people have noticed this too). I don’t fit in. I rarely find my nitch in social situations. I’m a little out there – “out of phase” is how my husband puts it. Granted, my co-workers in Christ have been nothing but kind to me. They have never said or done anything that would raise red flags nor am I singled out because of something (my non-mom status, for instance). I see how they all huddle together to chit chat about their week, what’s going on in their lives, something their kids did, or just a prolonged “good morning.” I’m not part of the group. It’s not their fault, it’s just calling a spade a spade. I’ll ask people how their week went: “Fine.” How was your vacation? “Great!”
I refuse to force friendships. I had to do that in high school and college because of proximity to others: I had to be friends with someone because of school and how we “fit in” to certain social situations. Now that I’m older, I’m not playing those games to appease people anymore. I’m going to have friends based on who they are at the core and someone I can walk in step with, not trying to match what they’re doing just because our juxtaposition says we should be friends.
And then it hit me: do I want to be in a church where I’m just on the outside? My small group is awesome, we have real conversations and we laugh a lot. I’m one of the youngest ones there, everyone else has kids in college or high school. And while they are awesome ladies, it would be weird for me to call them some night and ask if they want to grab a martini. The General is even more social isolated than I am. This bothers me, but it doesn’t bother him.
Rewind to last Sunday, we checked out a new church that is basically a scaled down version of the church we currently attend. It was pretty awesome, although the format and the pastor were a bit out of sequence. I learned A TON of history that coincides with the Gospels and the sermon cut to the core of human nature: Are you covered in the dust of your rabbi? i.e. Are you following Jesus so closely on the road of life that you are covered in His dust? Whoa!
My current church has AMAZING sermons, which is part of why I like it so much. But it’s huge. Walking through the main vestibule on Sundays, I get “Anatevka” from Fiddler on the Roof stuck in my head:
Intimate, obstinate Anatevka
Where I know everyone I met
Soon I’ll be a stranger in a strange new place
Searching for an old familiar face from Anatevka
It makes me smile because it’s a paradox. I’m alone in a crowd. All these faces and I have no idea who any of them are. And they don’t know me. I’m not the “run of the mill Christian wife.” And I don’t think I’ll ever be.
I miss the communion of fellowship at the church of my youth – everyone knew everyone. If we had 60 people on a Sunday and it wasn’t Christmas, that was HUGE! Any new face that walked through the doors was greeted and people asked questions: What do you do? Do you have kids? What church have you been to? Are you new to the area? How can we help you fit in? My church has a program for this….but it’s not the same. They have 60 people show up for meetings. It’s mostly a number thing; both are biblically sound churches.
Maybe it’s time for us to switch churches into a smaller setting? Lots of prayer to follow.