a frustrating run
I decided to take advantage of the cool night and go for a run. It’s been so hot this summer that I haven’t gotten much running in which means a couple of things – that my body isn’t as happy as it used to be and that my brain is getting a bit overloaded without much of a release. So since it was cool (less than 80), I put on my shoes and headphones and just took off. I didn’t have a route planned out. I just was excited to go. My favorite part of running is “green pepper head”. There are a few seeds rattling around up there, but it’s mostly empty. It’s a time that everything clears and I can just breathe.
I ended up running 2.5 miles (not as much as I would have liked, but that’s still fairly respectable) through Ravenswood and Andersonville. I started running north and ran past a lesbian wine bar I keep thinking would be fun (scary) to go to, except I don’t care for wine. I’ve run past it several times, but this was the first while it was open. There were a few couples at the tables on the sidewalk and I felt a pang of loneliness. I shook it off and kept going. When I hit Clark Street, I started to think about how much I love Chicago. I ran past the 48th Ward’s showing of a movie in a shoe store’s parking lot. I ran past beautiful people sitting outside having drinks. I ran past beautiful people coming out of a gym. I ran past the Cancer Center on Ashland – beyond their fencing, I saw a tranquil landscape with benches and a fountain. I wanted to hop the fence and sit there with my thoughts, but not being a law-breaker, I kept going and eventually ran to the church that I’ve been sort of attending. On a Tuesday night, it’s just an entrance to the Methodist hospital. Figuring it was as good of a place as any to catch my breath, I bent forward with my hands resting on my thighs and thought back to my previous post.
It may not so much be the post itself – it was a comment.
Leaving the church.
I didn’t leave THE church. I left A church.
It’s not that I felt I had to leave it. I know I could have stayed there and gotten something out of it. Part of me really wanted to. It was really hard to leave. I left friends and a community that I had grown to cherish. Then there was my ego. I didn’t want people to think that I stopped being a Christian, that I gave up on God.
The truth of the matter is I left because it would be a one way church relationship. I’m not comfortable with that. If I wanted my religion to go in one direction only, I’d be a Buddhist. I’d be interested in myself and enlightenment. I want to serve and to lead. I want to be in community. I want a real relationship.
So, I left. I started going to a new church. An inclusive church. A church that I never once within its walls felt shame.
Yet, it still doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like home. I keep thinking something is missing – that’s why it’s just not clicking for me. Tonight while taking that pause, I for the first time wondered if the thing that’s missing has nothing to do with the church, but with me.
What’s missing in me? Or better yet, what’s replaced what it is I’ve lost? Skepticism. Doubt. Fear. Inability/desire to engage. There are many things that have taken up residence inside that I just don’t know how to shake. Some of it is a defensive reaction to wounding. Some of it is just a result of not being in community for a while. So, I force myself to go back again and again hoping something will change inside, and nothing does.
I tell myself if I try another church things will be different, but Fear says I won’t find one, and if I do, they won’t accept me.
I don’t know what I need to do or where I need to go.
My brain wouldn’t shut off and now I’m more frustrated than when I took the first step last night.