The Boy came home with faint dirt on his head. Ash Wednesday has come again and all I feel is the disappointment that I have had with religion for over a year. I’m trying to shake the ennui, sometimes attending church with The Mister and The Boy, but even that falls flat as the serene service of their Baptist church leaves me sleepy and bored.
My students discussed Ash Wednesday and Fat Tuesday. I find that conversations about religion with the ladies are usually more educational than confrontational. We discuss WHY each person believes what they believe, HOW their beliefs have helped them, and WHAT they receive. Almost all say peace.
I have no peace. I feel like I’ve been duped. I hesitate to actually say how I feel, because it feels like a broken record. To be frank, I’ve always had doubts about church and religion. I don’t dare say that there is no God, because I know that there is something bigger than me. I see the hand of God everywhere, but His hand doesn’t seem to touch me. I’m disappointed that the act of getting “saved” hasn’t really saved me at all. I still live with crushing depression, I have had anxiety so bad that I was living on two hours sleep and multiple pots of coffee. Counting blessings, I tick off my children being healthy, my husband, a job I love, experiences that I get from working with people around the world, empanadas, ANYTHING that is a positive in my life. It doesn’t help. I’m a vessel that is completely dry.
A woman I’m working with tells me that she appreciates my spirit, that God has placed me here to help people like her, people new to the country who are lost and confused. I stop her before she can make the comparison to my work being a ministry. I don’t want to place myself in a position where I am on par with the work that God does. I listen to her talk about her relationship with God and how he brought her to me, but I also question “What spirit do I show now?”
What spirit does the shepherd show? In church, there’s man. Man disappoints. I try to ignore the human part of church, my focus wavering from the message presented. I only see the man delivering the message and his sins overpower any message he is giving. It’s every church I enter. The song says that a saint is just a sinner who fell down. I don’t think I could trust a pastor who has NEVER experienced any hardship. How can he or she counsel someone like me, a person who has her share of black marks in her past? I’m not the one donning a robe, dispensing platitudes, and offering wisdom, like the leaders. I’m not giving any direction on how to achieve salvation.
I’m in search of salvation myself.
This post was inspired by Ash Wednesday and Just Write. Just Write is a stream of consciousness. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent.