Today, I find myself depressed. Not so thoroughly depressed as to make me inactive, but pretty close. The incident that triggered my depression is something I have known was coming for a while. But even a fore-knowledge of what is to come can not stop the wave of sadness that washes over you when it does, in fact, come to fruition. I’ll cut to the chase…
When we first moved to our new home, we searched out a church. To our delight, we quickly found a place where we felt comfortable and we therefore invested ourselves in our new church home. We had been here about six months when the rug was pulled out from underneath our feet and we learned that the priest we so loved was not universally liked. In fact, there was a faction within the church who didn’t just dislike him. They were waging an all-out campaign to make him leave.
I will stop here and say that there are many people who would look at this situation and point out that this is what’s wrong with organized religion. People who ascribe to a religion are not about helping others or living up to the ideal that Christianity/Islam/Judaism (insert your favorite religion here) describe. My response is that you find this kind of thing everywhere; in the work place, in families, in social groups of all kinds. It is a part of being human that we are petty and will resort to underhanded tactics to keep our status and power.
Back to the story….
After we discovered the secret underbelly of the people we worshiped with, we were understandably unnerved. In one horrific scene, we witnessed people condemning our priest of silly and petty things. Of course, to those making the accusations, it did not seem silly or petty, but from our vantage point as new members, it sounded like personality conflicts and misunderstandings. You know, the kind of things adults work through and move on.
Such was their frustration at this priest that now, four years after we got here and six years after he took the job, they finally managed to make him leave. Consider that for a moment. These people spent six years working on getting him replaced.
As soon as they were sure it was going to happen, the priest and his wife took the time to have lunch with us to let us know. Frankly, we were not all that surprised. I have been more impressed with the fact that despite the health issues caused directly from this battle (the priest had a heart attack 2 years ago, his wife ended up in the hospital for stress-induced medical problems) they stayed as long as they did.
They asked us to stay at the church, to help the people rebuild it. Despite everything that has been done to them, they still want what is best for the church and its congregation. Right now, Hubby has said he plans to stop attending any church for a while. I understand. When people act this way, it makes it hard to believe that there are good people out there. It makes it hard to trust again.
My plan is to find another church to attend. I was thinking of going back to our church, but I don’t think I can without Hubby. And while he may need to take a break, I have already been through this type of questioning. For me, I choose to find another church home for me and my children. I know it’s what I need. Hubby may come with me later on. It’s his choice.
The hardest part of it all is to forgive those who chose to be so nasty. There was no need for it. They had already left the church. But they finally found a way. I won’t go into all the messiness here. It doesn’t matter. I hope that I might find it in my heart not to be bitter towards those who finally got their way. The best I can do at the moment is hope that they don’t get what they deserve. In that spirit, enjoy this poem I found:
Forgiveness is the wind-blown bud
which blooms in placid beauty at Verdun.
Forgiveness is the tiny slate-gray sparrow
which has built its nest of twigs and string
among the shards of glass upon
the wall of shame.
Forgiveness is the child who
laughs in merry ecstasy
beneath the toothed fence that
closes in Da Nang.
Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet
which still clings fast to the
heel that crushed it.
Forgiveness is the broken dream
which hides itself within the corner of the mind
oft called forgetfulness so that
it will not bring pain to the dreamer.
Forgiveness is the reed
which stands up straight and green
when nature’s mighty rampage halts, full spent.
Forgiveness is a God who will not leave us
after all we’ve done.
by George Roemisch