Thursday, March 4, 2010

The blog post I'm really not writing

“One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters.”
-J. R. R. Tolkien
This blog is about where we ended up at, and how I feel about it. This post is about where our old church ended up.
But not how I feel about it. I’m not sure how to write that post. I’m not sure I should. I tried, and it ended up really long and meandering – all about hurt and anger and conscience.
I really don’t think it’s post-able. I sure don’t want to read it again! It's the sort of thing you write and then throw away, not write and post. So, I’m leaving you with a quotation instead, because it's really what's resonating in my head now that I'm done writing about all this. And because they're better words than mine were.  Here you go: a passage from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers:
'Tell me, lord,' he said, 'what brings you here?...What doom do you bring out of the North?'
'The doom of choice,' said Aragorn. 'You may say this to Théoden son of Thengel: open war lies before him, with Sauron or against him. None may live now as they have lived, and few shall keep what they call their own ...”
And that’s it. Now I’m done. Finally.*
Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell
*Well, you know, as much as you can be done when you’ve only had six months to mourn a ten-year’s loss. I know this will all be with me for a long time. But I’m done with the rough work of figuring out how I’m going to think about it. And that’s better place to be than I was before. I don't think I was really able to think through it till we'd found a safe place to land.


Ranee @ Arabian Knits said...

I am so with you on the grief and anger and conscience and not knowing where to land. We had found what was a perfect for us church, had the assistant rector leave and then our rector left, which was a huge blow to our very family church. We tried for two years to hold it together, the bishop sent another priest, but there were a few families who weren't actually invested in the church, wouldn't support it, etc. It closed its doors last week. In the interim, we ended up moving to a town where there is no church of our denomination, though there used to be (our diocese has a lot of problems, the greater church is doing better elsewhere). The closest church to ours is the Roman Catholic, and though we are closer to it than Protestant churches, we are not RC. We cannot say the filioque clause and even if we were to be able to commune (which we aren't), most of our children would not be permitted to do so, even though they have been communing since their infancy at our former church. For similar reasons as you have, we cannot in good conscience attend the Episcopal church. We don't want to deprogram our children on the way home from church on what we don't really believe and set them up for a crisis of faith. It is a hard thing.

We have gone to some more catholic leaning Protestant churches, but it is hard to go somewhere where the Eucharist isn't the center and focus of worship. Once you have had that, I don't think you can go back. There is a Western Rite Orthodox mission, but it meets an hour and a half from our house, so it's too long a drive, and has services only on every other Tuesday night, so it would be a work day as well. There is also the problem that we do not quite reject the pope, though we are not of the same opinion as the Roman Catholic church on it.

It is a hard place to be in right now. I don't know that I have any comfort to offer, only sympathy and prayer. My husband says that since we are fairly certain we are doing what God is calling us to, we have to keep struggling through it, even though it is hard. He said that the martyrs of the early church certainly didn't get things easy and their way because they were following the Lord and we have to just trust Him and keep praying. I'm trying to do that without bitterness.

Jessica said...

Oh, Ranee, my heart hurts for you.

And I hear you about the trying to do it without bitterness. I can't tell you how many versions of these posts I wrote . . . I finally made them very, very short, taking out anything that even smelled of bitterness. Because that's not where I want to live. It's not what I want in my heart, and it's not what I want on record. But denying bitterness a root is very, very hard. Only with God's help, I think, is even attempting it possible.

Ranee @ Arabian Knits said...

Seeing what our former priest was burdened with, he felt a real need to shelter the parishioners from it, we were able to forgive him for how he left much more freely, though we still think it was the wrong thing to do and the wrong way to go about it. Our families were so close, spending the night at each others' homes, children playing and growing together, and the loss and hole that left was huge.

Our children were so heartbroken and are still trying to work through that pain, as are we, but theirs is worse.

We are struggling with the bitterness, but also the isolation. It is hard to be a Christian without community and communion. We've only received the Eucharist four times since we've moved. All during trips back "home." Now, we don't even have a home church to return to for that.

I posted a little about it after it happened. There are a few other posts on the blog about it. It has been a huge challenge and it has made us doubt our path and what we're doing on more than one occasion.

I appreciate that we are not alone in this. I pray for unity in the church. I pray daily for east and west to reconcile. Rich and I have said to each other that if that occurs, we will submit to that union, regardless of our difficulties with it. We grieve with folks like you and the people from our former church and all those who are trying to seek God and do His will.

Anne Kennedy said...

It is very hard to write in the rawness of new pain. There's too much to say and no way to say it. It's actually been very helpful to begin to write a year out. Its within my clear memory but the keenness of it is gone, and I'm not angry any more, nor bitter. And lately I've been VERY consoled by the realization that heaven isn't that far off and all this will be forgotten like a gray breeze.

Jessica said...

Anne, this:

"And lately I've been VERY consoled by the realization that heaven isn't that far off and all this will be forgotten like a gray breeze."

is very encouraging. It's been resonating in my head since I read it. Thank you.