It’s been a year since we left our old church. And to be honest, it kinda feels like I’ve been wandering around the desert ever since then. We visited a number of churches over the last year, but in the end, we landed at the neighborhood Universal Unitarian church.
We are there because Hope likes it; there are a couple of kids from her school who attend and unlike our old church, she seamlessly slipped into the social scene at the UU church.
Me? I haven’t; but I’m realizing that I’m not much of a joiner. I’m constantly intrigued by how my neighbors all seem to know each other, but despite my living here for 15 years I don’t have to many close relationships with my condo neighbors. #IDigress
It’s cool though, this church thing isn’t about me, and my discomfort at not being at a distinctly Christian church isn’t really that big of a deal. I have been creative about making sure that we get Christianity infused throughout life.
In the midst of all of these developments, I kept getting mail from the old church.
Each flyer, giving statement, newsletter cut me like glass. It has taken every bit of this whole year to try to get past the heartbreak of feeling rejected by my church.
It’s taken the whole year for me to wrestle with the fury of anger and the tears of sadness. I felt like there was a mini setback every time I got something in the mail.
Shortly after I received the last giving statement for the year that I would use to finish my taxes, I received a “reminder” about the pledge I’d made at the beginning of the year on behalf of myself and Hope. I gave towards the pledge until we left.
Last fall, when I received a “reminder” I sent them an email about how we were not in fellowship there anymore and that I was allocating those funds to another house of faith.
And then I got the last “reminder.”
And I let it sit.
I called Grammy to ask about her opinion. Let’s just say she hasn’t worked as hard as I have to forgive. Lest we forget, not only did they hurt me and Hope, but they denied her and my father a public opportunity to embrace Hope and join me in committing to raise her faithfully.
There’s quite a bit of pain in that too. We all hurt.
So, today, I sat down and wrote my former pastor a long letter. I talked about how I came to attend that church, how my being in fellowship there definitely marked a major chapter in my life—starting and finishing my doctorate and becoming a mother. I shared how I felt all during the 7-8 months it took for them to grow a pair and say we just weren’t the cute adoptive family that everyone wants to see. I shared about the times the pastoral staff were condescending. I shared about how ironic it was to hear adoption used as a Christian metaphor so often and what that irony felt like. I shared about my last conversation with the family pastor who was dispatched to share the news that Hope and I didn’t fit the motif of the church. I shared how we were attending a UU church now and how Hope was thriving there.
I asked to be completely erased from the mailing list. It’s simply too hard to have stuff from them coming to my little crazy sanctuary.
I printed the letter. I printed an envelope. I peeled the stamp. I licked the enveloped. I dropped it in the mailbox.
And a burden was lifted.
Just in time for Easter.
I am grateful to totally close that chapter.
The Background on The Church Thing