Sunday, March 18, 2012

This has been a really difficult week for me and my family.  We did not go to church last Sunday because we were all feeling a little under the weather.  We spent the day before out in the cold and rain for a cub scout fish and fun day.  It was an okay day.  I enjoyed spending time with my son and husband.  I think my son enjoyed it the most because he was kept busy with all the scout activities.  He ate Indian Fry Bread, through hatchets, did some fishing and tons of other activities.

On Tuesday I was flying to Philly for a business trip so I spent Monday packing and getting ready for the trip.  We went out to dinner and when we came home we found our Scottish Terrier, Rhys had died in our absence. He was old and we knew it was coming, but it was painful for all of us.  This is the third pet we have that has die in my son's 9-year-old lifetime and he has taken each of them very hard.  It broke my hard to see his pain and know that there was nothing I could do to make it better.  And at the same time my heart was breaking because of Rhys' death.  He was our baby for 12 years and we were all very attached to him.  To make matters worse I was leaving first thing in the morning and could not be there for my family as they buried and grieved for Rhys.

I left on Tuesday feeling miserable from lack of sleep (it was almost midnight when we got my son calmed down and to sleep), grieving over the loss of a dear friend and feeling guilty over leaving my family at such a time.  The conference went well and I learned a lot, but did not sleep well most of the week.  On Friday night I went out to dinner with a group of friends and they started talking about and sharing photos of their pets.  I joined in and told several endearing stories about Rhys and found this to be very cathartic.  It was better knowing that even though he wouldn't be with us in the future, he had touched our lives in some many ways and I had wonderful memories.  He is gone but not forgotten and I know that is a cliche but it is so true.

Unfortunately we didn't make it to church this morning because I was so exhausted from my trip and lack of sleep that I way overslept.  We will make it to church next Sunday no excuses allowed.  That is where we belong and I owe my son the opportunity to be raised in the church and in fellowship with other Christians.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Today for the first time in a long time my family went to church.  I was raised the daughter of a Southern Baptist minister.  I think my father became a pastor when I was about three, but I don't remember a time growing up that I was not in church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night.  If the doors were open we were there.

My father died almost 4 years ago now and I still miss him greatly, but for years I have rebelled against my upbringing.  Don't get me wrong, I believe in God with all of my heart, but I have been disillusioned over the years about what church stands for.  Starting in college, even though attending a Baptist university, I began to question the validity of organized religion.  I saw too many people who attended church every Sunday, but did nothing to help one another, did not love one another and cared too deeply about fitting in with the world.

Maybe I just used this as an excuse to stop going to church.  I really don't know, but for the past 30 years I've continued to struggle with being a church-goer.   I would go to church for awhile and then something would happen and I would decide that this was not the right church for me and my family.

Lately my husband and I have had several discussions about going to church again. It has been more than three years since we really attended a church on a regular basis.  Two weeks ago, my son told us that his friend's mother had mentioned inviting us to go to church with them.  This last week I was home sick and decided to clean out my contacts in my email address book and I found her email.  I'm guessing it made it into my contact's list because the boys are in the same class at school and so when I replied to an email for a party or something her email was automatically saved into my contacts.  All I know is that I didn't personally save it and was rather surprised to find it there.  I almost deleted it, but didn't.  I talked with my husband about it and ended up emailing her about church.

Today for the first time in a long time my family went to church.  Today I felt a sense of belonging that I have not felt since I stopped attending my Dad's church when I left for college.  The sermon today was about the history and tradition of this particular church.  On the surface it sounds rather boring, but I was really struck by how the Preacher said that this church is about being Christians only.  He said more than once how none of us our holy and we all sin and it felt like he meant it.  Sometimes it seems we give lip-service to not being perfect and being sinners, but in our hearts we believe we are better than ______ (you can fill-in-the-blank).  But today it didn't sound like lip-service.  The scripture was Revelations 4: 11

"You are worthy, our Lord and God,
  to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
  and by your will they were created
  and have their being."

Today for the first time in a long time my family went to church.  It felt right.  I felt challenged to be more than I am and to live for something greater than myself.  I can't promise right at this moment that I won't fall back into my old habits for I can't see what the future holds, but I can tell you I have a sense of peace about this church that I don't remember ever having before about any church as an adult.