How do you say good-bye?
How do you let go of the one thing that wasn't even on your radar as being uncertain this year? This year, when everything else is one giant question mark, how do you let go of the one thing that was supposed to be a sure thing?
Yes, The News. It's official now: Our church plant is dissolving.
Dissolving. Is that the right word? What do you call it when your fearless leaders decide that it wasn't enough, we weren't enough, it wasn't big enough or growing fast enough or likely to be sustainable soon enough or just ENOUGH ALREADY I don't want to talk about.
How stupidly wrong was I, hey? I feel like such an idiot. It was so unexpected, completely out of nowhere. It's been a month now so my head is no longer spinning, my feelings aren't quite so raw, but it still hurts.
One more fractured shard to add to my church mosaic.
I want to be angry. I am angry. I want to rant about broken assurances and betrayed trust and dashed hopes and giving up too easily and deciding too prematurely and what happened to commitments and community and discussions and options and -
but I can't.
I can't because I know the hearts of our once-leaders, still-friends, and they are good. Truly. If you knew these people...I wish you did. I mean, these are good folk. They love wholeheartedly and live fully and care passionately and how do you stay angry at that?
Which just leaves me feeling
We'll check out other church plants together, they say. Find another place to dispose of us, ease their guilt (I'm being unfair and I know it but this is unfair, this is wrong), but I'm So Not Interested. I can't do another church plant, not yet. Too easily begun and too easily abandoned. We wrestled for months over our decision to fully commit to this one, talked and prayed and talked some more, before deciding that yes, we could wholeheartedly give ourselves to this church. Yes, we responded, yes, we could agree to the two year commitment they were asking of their core team. Yes. And now here we are only one year later and forget it. Game over.
I am aware, though, more keenly than ever, of the choice I have in how I internalize this. Is this just another reason to be bitter and cynical, to distrust the wider church? Or can I reach the place where I can honestly say that it was worth it for a season? It feels like that's what I'm supposed to say, but I don't mean it, not yet. Maybe after a while I'll be able to look back and say yes, I'm glad it was there for that season, even if it couldn't last, but right now it's just more hurt, more lost relationships, more time pouring myself into something only to have it yanked out from under my feet.
It truly was good while it lasted, though. It was healing. I want to hang on to that, want, wholeheartedly, to choose the latter path of acceptance of what is and appreciation for what was.
But right now I feel like all I can manage is warming a pew in the nearest mainline church, nicely established and not going anywhere, a place where I can lick my wounds and maybe find some fellowship and sustenance. Heck, we've had true community in such a church before; maybe we'll get lucky and stumble into again. I want it, both for myself and my family, my children. I haven't told them yet, by the way. I don't know what to say.
I don't know what else to say now, either. Here today, gone tomorrow, I guess that's everything in life. God, our only sure thing, never-changing and always with us. If anything, I suppose it's good to be reminded of that once in a while.
But God. I'll miss them so damn much. And isn't that the root of it all? I want to be angry, I want to blame, I want to rant and rage because it's easier than feeling the hurt. But it does hurt. We all hurt right now. We'll all miss each other. No one wanted this. And I know that if I'm this sad, it can only be worse for them, the ones who painfully and prayerfully made this decision because they truly believed it was the right decision to make.
And now, a new chapter. Let's see where it takes us.
This is, after all, my year of being Open.