Sunday, I went to church. Tremble.
I’ve been meaning to blog about this since then, but was too busy playing dad.
TB was teaching, therefore, I was there. I have mixed feelings about hearing him. I love it, but I kinda dread it too. Part of the reason I quit going to church, is it has been years, YEARS, since I’ve heard a sermon/lesson that I couldn’t give in my sleep. I feel no emotion or connection to what is said at all. I know most of it is probably with me as I will look at some of the other parishioner as they cry or raise their hands. I either wonder what is wrong with them or remember when I was similar. It makes me wonder if I used to look similar to them. I feel like I should see them and wish that I could have whatever that was back. I don’t. I want to shake them and scream, “wake up!” Yes, I know that is horrible. The problem with hearing TB preach is the beautiful thing about hearing him. I feel things. I learn things. I get convicted.
Even when I am at services where I dread the preaching, I still look forward to the music. Music allows me to connect to God and be personal with him, where the sermons leave me questioning if God even exists—because if he did, surely he would change how his servants teach about him. I like many of the new choruses. Some of them, I love and can bring me to tears (good and bad) in moments. However, the hymns speak so much more truth to me. They seem more real. More honest about pain, about honor, about brokenness. Not all, but many. So many of the choruses are just blabbering of words that seem self-important and disingenuous. For instance, one of the lines this Sunday in one of the songs was: In your presence I hear angles sing (or angel’s wings—I don’t recall). I had to tell myself not to laugh. Seriously? Even if that was true for the composer, how true is that for the vast majority of people singing this song? People were raising their hands, some had tears. Some weren’t affected. For those who were, I couldn’t suppress my skepticisms. Did they even hear what they were saying? Where they really thinking about what they were singing, meaning it? Rainbows, puppy dogs, and fluff. (Call me Grinch, fine.) The other song that hit me was less arbitrary. The More I Seek You, The More I Find You. That is Biblical I suppose. Seek and Ye shall find and all. So, I can respect the lyrics. However, that line isn’t true for me and I couldn’t make myself sing it. The more I have sought him, the less I feel like I have found him. At least found who I was supposed to find. Maybe that means I really am finding him, maybe not. There was a song about needing him and relying on his strength and mercy and such. That I could sing, and sing with everything in me. With relish.
The sermon, or lesson as TB likes to call it, was on a topic that is as familiar to me as my own body. I guess it was timely, and how it was presented.
This historically hasn’t really been an issue for me. I’m pretty quick to let things go. (Although my anger with he-who-must-not-be named is flourishing nicely.) However, that was not my conviction. I have been struggling with hate over the past year or so. I’m not even being dramatic in saying hate. As much as I don’t want to admit it. I have caught myself desiring death (if nothing else, at least in reputation) for this person or financial ruin. At times such thoughts have caused me shame, at others, they feel justified. Now, I don’t feel like killing anyone or the man having a horrible death or anything, but still. As silly as this sounds, I realized this was a problem as TB spoke. Not because of those feelings (they are just feelings), but because I didn’t want to let them go. I didn’t/don’t want to forgive him. That’s a problem. This man has been so unbelievably evil to my family, to my parents. He has hurt them so greatly, emotionally and financially. Not because of any altercation; just because he enjoys it. He has done it to many in the past, and now it is my family’s turn—has been for awhile. The cruelness and internality of it makes it hard for me to want to forgive. Maybe that’s it. I hadn’t really thought of this until this moment as I write. It’s the intentional choice of the matter that makes it hard for me. He is choosing to hurt my family. Enjoying it. Feeling powerful and important in the acts he commits.
So, go to church. Be reminded of all I used to be and ‘guiltily’ experience peace that I am no longer that person. All the while actually feeling conviction of something. Thanks, TB. I am not yet able to forgive, but I am at least aware that I need to and can acknowledge. That’s a step, and I’m willing to work on it. To have the goal of forgiveness and release of ill-will.
It’s funny, I admit so much on here. So much weakness, fear, depression, brokenness, pathetic need, desperation, and angst filled sorrow. This one is harder to admit. At least those other things don’t correspond with evilness, necessarily. This does, and it’s something I don’t want to have in me, something that can corrupt the beauty I do have in me from time to time, and of those around me. Something I never want my nephew to hear in my voice or see in my life.
Through it all, I still seek him, find him or not. Still place my faith and trust in him, even it is because I have no other option besides simply not—which isn’t an option either.
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