I started to write a long comment on Facebook (well, actually I did) and then had more thoughts so brought it back here.
We are not searching for a new church to attend. I just wanted to share something that was on my heart (in response to the door slamming shut comment a couple days ago). It seems that some people just don’t understand how this process has affected me and how it has changed our lives completely without hope of reconciliation. How everything I had imagined and dreamed and planned for has been destroyed because Wayne has been removed from pulpit ministry. Yes, of course, dreams change over time and you have to “roll with the punches” (I don’t do that well) but when the cause was needless, it is harder to overcome. Everything is based on 2 people’s statements and then lies and no grace extended nor even rebuttal allowed. I don’t think the “average Joe” really comprehends how much of a pastor’s life and his family’s life is wrapped up in church ministry. How everything you do is based on the church and when that is forcibly removed how you have a hard time even figuring out how to go on and you have no clue what you are to do with yourself. It has been 3 years (since the removal), 4 years since the mess began. We are making it through most days just fine. The impact damage on our lives and our children’s lives will never be overcome. It is NOT the same as a secular job loss, was my main point. Unless you have been involuntarily removed from your ministry position and thrown out like the garbage and not given a chance to restore yourself and no longer permitted to continue in the ministry roles you have held for decades, then you can never truly understand.
I do have a grasp on the loss of dreams based on a secular/non-religious loss. My father. My father became ill when I was in college. By the time I got married he was either no longer working or only working very part time (I cannot remember). His health continued to decline until he lost the battle with Multiple Sclerosis in 1993 just 6 short weeks before his first grandchild was to be born.
Of course, that threw my mother’s life into tailspin. Did she ever imagine that she would be a widow at 51? Of course not. Did she ever imagine that she would be the sole grandparent (on one side) to her children’s children? Certainly not. She imagined (I can only assume) the same things I imagined. 2 loving grandparents, camping, boating, playing, loving, showering with time and gifts, someone to travel with, sit with and watch TV with, someone to keep you warm on a cold night (OK, I didn’t imagine that one, but I assume she did). Is it right? Not even slightly. Should such a great tragedy happen to our family (any family)? Never. But it did. Her life was turned upside down. She could do nothing to stop it. My life was turned upside down. My daddy is gone.
So, yes. I’ve had that experience too (loss of dreams/future based on a non-religious event). However, my point remains, there was no loss of a church family. I had the churches we were part of at the time to encourage and support us. I had people to minister with and to. I’m not a public griever so I can’t really say that I had people to comfort me in the churches but I’m sure they would have. My mother had her church family as well. She had to continue on and finish raising “the boys” without a father. I’m certain that was tough (they turned out fine). She had a church family to worship with. They supported her and encouraged her and prayed for her. And she has her ministry there and always did. It was never taken away from her. She is not a public griever either (guess I learned it?) but I’m sure they offered her comfort in the ways they could as she got through that time – and still does. It helped alot, I think that we had Abi so soon after dad’s death. It gave us something good to hold on to, to look forward to. In fact we had a baby shower just a week after the funeral. They wanted to cancel it but we wanted to move on, life didn’t come to an end just because our world was upturned.
Can you imagine if during that time of great grief we had been told that we could no longer attend church. That we were no longer allowed to worship with the people we had been with. The ones who had been supporting us? That would be unheard of. You would not send a grieving family away from a community of faith just because someone died.
Yes, we have a church we are attending. I’ve said that. The people there are and would be supportive of us. But it is not an active congregation for us to get involved in the types of ministry that we enjoy. No we are not looking to change. As I said before. We are there because of family. We will stay because of family. The family aspect, right now, is more important to us. We are sitting, we are trying to heal, it is hard – especially this week when all the atrocities of the politics of the church are thrown back at us in hurtful ways. We will get through it. We are definitely scathed. (auto-correct tells me scathed is not a word that it is only unscathed – what is the opposite then?) At this point it is too painful to try and re-imagine our future without the church and activities that I believed were always going to be there. Someday I will be able to do that.
One dream I always had was that our children would get married in whatever church we were serving, surrounded by that community of faith and Wayne would help with the service. Of course, I don’t have any child preparing to marry right now, but that is one of those long held dreams. I have started to re-imagine that one. 🙂 Now that dreams includes children getting married at Wanake. I wanted to but because of the age and health concerns of relatives and my father, I did not. If my daughters were to choose that, I will do everything in my power to make that happen. See… I’m trying to re-imagine. I’ll get there… eventually.