This year, I moved to a new church. For those who don’t count church as a regular part of their life, this won’t sound monumental, but you churchy folks will get it.
I’d been steadily attending a Catholic church for over 12 years. I had converted to the faith, had held several lay positions and even co-led mission trips. I was part of both the church and the school community, and it seemed like our life revolved around this entity, but that began to change. I wish I could put a finger on a single event that predicated the decision to leave, but I can’t. It was a slow drift. Rituals that were formerly comforting became rote. Hymns that used to inspire had become lip service. I felt spiritually bereft, yet….. in 12 years, I had grown to love my church community, and had formed an especially tight bond with a small group of women I’d shared a retreat with. That kept me showing up for a few more months, but that’s all I was doing. Showing up.
Wanting so much to feel renewed, I took a chance and visited a different church on the first Sunday of 2013. Alone. And I entered to NOISE! People talking, getting coffee, music playing over the loudspeakers….it was a little discombobulating, but it drew me in. The music and singing began, and it was contemporary Christian music, the kind you hear on the radio. I’m a big music person, so we were off to a great start. The pastor was dressed casually and kinda bounced around, gesticulating wildly while delivering the message that day that was heavy with Scripture but applicable to present day….and it spoke to me. I was picking up what he was laying down. I walked out light in step and spirit, excited to tell my husband about this adventure.
It was a strange five months while my husband remained with the music ministry at the Catholic church until summer, and I instead was attending the new church. On his two visits during this time, he too was captivated, but this was an awkward time. I’d see my Catholic church friends but never get around to mentioning that I had changed churches. I felt I was betraying them….but did it really need to be announced? I wasn’t sure. The relationships hadn’t changed; we still talked about our families and jobs, as we always had. I was truly straddling the two communities, and not very comfortably.
Eleven months later, and I have let everyone know that my heart has settled at a new church, but my love for them is unchanged. We may have one less thing in common now, but I think the friendships are strong enough to overcome that. I am finally at peace with the decision. I feel re-energized, centered in my faith, and curious to see what the future holds for me here. It was a decision made in a matter of an hour, but it took almost a year to bring it to full fruition. Needed time to ripen, I suppose.
This was written with the Think Kit prompt “What was the wisest decision you made this year? Did it change your “everyday”, move something from Point A to Point B, or involve others?” Smallbox is behind this devilry, emailing a prompt each day in December. I think I’m going to like it.