Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Some background

Was just doing some more thinking, I have far too much time to do that, but it did occur to me that there is back history to all this hurt, so if you're sitting comfortably, then I'll begin.

As many of you will know I became a Christian up in Durham at the end of my first year and in my second year I changed church for a variety of reasons, it just seemed to be the right place for me to be. And at first it was, I was comparatively well, especially in the first term and I was on top of the world (in hindsight I reckon I could well have been manic or hypomanic during this period, but that's another matter). I belonged to my church, I made loads of friends, attended cell group and both Sunday services, I was baptised, Sunday was the highlight of my week, especially the time of singing at the beginning of the meeting. Some Sundays I would be out all day at church and with church people. I really felt part of things and like I belonged.

Then I began to get sicker. By a few weeks into the first term of my third year I could no longer make it to church and only made it to cell group because it met in my living room. In hindsight this cell group was a massive blessing and I should have been more grateful for it being there, to my housemates for being ok with it using our living room, for the fellowship I received. However, I found that now I could no longer make it to the main church meeting and to events and lunch at the pub I no longer seemed to exist. It was as though I had never been there, in the church that previously I had felt such a part of. Through that year I felt more and more let down by the church, for simply not being there, for not bothering to get in touch, for shutting me out because I was ill.

Even when I made it to meetings I felt out of place. I wasn't energetic and rejoicing and dancing and singing, I wanted to worship God, but felt cut out sitting down and feeling tired and old and not happy. It felt like you had to leave your problems outside the door and fix on your perma-grin as you stepped inside. Sometimes the leader of the church would stand up and talk about how because we followed Jesus we helped one another and visited the sick - several times he actually mentioned visiting the sick - and I wanted to stand up and say, "When did you visit me then?" I wanted to walk out, so much hurt and anger.

It was like no one wanted to have anything to do with me because I was struggling and sick, like I was a momenta mori. Some friends did their best to help, some were wonderful. But a lot of people told me to "rely on God" when I was hoping for some fellowship or support. How did they think I got (and still get) through the day? Gin?! I was learning more and more about God, I was desparately clinging to Him because it honestly felt like He was the only one left. There was such a cult of busyness at Durham and I suffered because of this. I hope my life never becomes so busy I have no time for my friends and my brothers and sisters.

Anyhow, this isn't intended as a personal attack on any person or institution, it is simply to explain some of where I'm coming from. I have, over time, begun to deal with the hurts from this period from my life. Mercifully quite a lot of it I cannot remember, others have faded.

In an ideal world I would have less time to mull all this over, but although I do my best to stay as occupied as I can manage there is still a lot of empty silent time (with the best will in the world there are limits on how long you can think about knitting!) and that no doubt accounts to some extent to how I feel and how big it all feels. I want to move on and I want to have a positive impact on us, the body of Christ, because as an idea it is brilliant.

1 comment:

  1. Steph I really do understand where you're at. I remember at one stage I wasn't able to attend church for 6 weeks in a row and I went back and people went, "Where hav eyou been?" and I just thought, "Well why didn't you CALL and ask me!!" Seriously!!! It was about then that I realise how, even though people are well intentioned, they SUCK at following through unless they make a committment to do so, are understanding (usually through personal experience) or are forced to. It all isn't how its meant to be. But we are united in Him who does sustain us and I'm not intending on going anywhere. Lov eyou hun! xoxo