I am currently having what some people would call a 'crisis of faith.'
Which actually translates into I haven't been to church in 7 months and I'm perfectly happy with that.
My faith in God has not changed or lessened in any way.
My faith in my church has definitely hit a road block.
Now here's the clincher.
It's always really bugged me when people stopped going to church because someone offends them.
Really? Is that as far as your devotion and faith goes?
Yet I have found it so incredibly easy to lay the blame on others for my own inactivity in my religion. I could blame the horrible rumors that I KNOW are out there about me (I've heard them, it's not me just being paranoid). I could blame the teachers at church who I completely disagreed with even before my separation and subsequent divorce. I could blame those few extremely close people who utterly back stabbed me and left me to fend for myself in a most un-friendly, un-christlike fashion. (Not you MC).
But the truth is I just quit caring.
I call it the Awakening.
The moment in my life where I just sort of woke up and realized how much time I was spending on trying to hide who I was because who I was--wasn't good enough for those around me.
This awakening was quickly followed by the Great Purge of 2012.
That's when all those people left.
The truth is... I really, truly, honestly have found that I feel so much less guilt and remorse when I focus my time on bettering my relationships with my children, my self and my friends (rather than on becoming a perfect (ridiculously unattainable) version of myself).
The sad aspect of this, however, is I know how I'm viewed.
I've been there, I've known people who 'went off the deep end' and left the church.
I know what they think, what they say and what they tell their kids.
And I realize for the first time in my life how completely wrong that sort of behavior is!
I'm not a bad person because I don't have a desire to go to church or because I wear tank tops and shorter shorts. I'm not a bad person because I associate myself with people who smoke cigarettes.
I may be at a slightly higher risk of cancer... but that's sort of not the issue at hand.
The irony is that in seeking quality friendship, love, and acceptance I actually found it in the place I had been taught said me I shouldn't be able to (non-church folk).
These are people who genuinely respect one another, work side by side to build one another up, lend a helping hand to ANYONE they see, and are willing to try out new and interesting friendships.
It's an incredibly dynamic group of homosexuals, adults who were raised in polygamist homes, former drug addicts, and lots of awesome, respectful, loving kids. These are people who have often times dealt with serious life issues and have learned that the value of a person does not come in where they are on Sunday morning but how they treat others when no one is looking.
And they have great relationships.... happy, loving committed partnerships; sound, un-conditional friendships; honorable, open parent-child bonds.
In my entire life I have never felt so welcome and accepted.
All the things I thought I could find in church I found outside of church.
I have really been contemplating this a lot lately and been truly concerned about 'coming out' for fear of the reaction I was going to receive. I know what most of you must be thinking (see above) and that's fine... but may I suggest one tiny idea that my bestest friend in the whole wide world told me this last year:
"A support group isn't there to give you advice... otherwise it would be called an advice group. Support groups are the ones that stand by you no matter what your choice is because they know at some point we all need to have another person around just to know we are significant."