“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
“Love…endures all things.”
1 Cor 13:7
I humiliated myself today at church. Well, after church. Instead of a sermon, two people gave their testimonies and then they, along with another boy, were baptized. This might sound short. It wasn’t. First of all, I felt very alone for some reason – well I was – and melancholy in general. All the same, that wasn’t bad because I could just sit there next to Mrs. Jarret, the pastor’s wife (she accosted me and sat next to me in a flurry of attempted niceness), and hold very still listening or sing along like I need. Afterwards, however, the pastor and his wife had invited me over to lunch along with the couple who had testified. They had “fellowship” in the lower part of the church, during which people who all knew each other stood around, ate cookies, and talked. I huddled in a corner hoping it would all be over soon, and one of the church members noticed me. He came over and asked why I wasn’t talking to people; I replied that I tended to be shy. “Well,” he said, “Jesus gave us the Great Commission, and how are you ever going to win souls for Christ if you’re scared to talk to people? When you get to heaven, you’ll get a crown and on it will be stars for every person you’ve led to Jesus. You don’t want to go to God empty handed, do you?”
I’ll tell you the truth. The awkwardness of trying not to look totally lame and alone in this group of people who were so happy and easy with each other was bad enough; I wanted Ian to be there so I could at least have somebody… Plus all people ask me is, “When is your husband coming home?” which just makes me realize that we still have 27 days, which may not be very much in terms of your whole life, but when each day feels like a year… So I was standing there already feeling wretched, and then he came up and started chastising me for not being outgoing?! I pretty much just lost it then, excusing myself to dash out of the church, huddle on a corner, and weep. Finally the wind near blew me over so I crept back inside to sit alone in the sanctuary, crying and crying. I cried for missing my husband, for wanting to go home to Seattle, for my horrible loneliness that was just emphasized by the fact that all these people were such good friends, for being undeserving of this kick while I was down.
I’m sure my face was a mess; I felt like crap and I think I looked it too. Eventually I started calming down, and at that point the pastor found me, asked what was wrong, and I sort of explained. He said he’d been married at 19 as well, and it was a lonely thing; then he offered to talk to some pastor friends of his who have younger people in their churches. I felt singularly unenthusiastic about that, for being uneasily introduced through two pastors to any student my age… Sounds bad. But maybe I was just feeling bad. At least I think I may try harder to get to the WCCN things every Friday night. I’ll tell the truth: I wanted to ask for a ride straight home so I could curl up and be miserable alone on my bed. But I didn’t, instead saying that a lunch of roast beef, mashed potatoes, two salads, and cake sounded oh-so-wonderful. It was, in fact, just fine. Real food, and so I ate a reasonable amount figuring it would cover me for the rest of the day. I didn’t say much but to answer questions about me (“What does your father do?” “Do you have any siblings?” “Do you have a job?” “Are you from Worcester?” “How did you meet your husband?” and so on). I smiled, I may have laughed, but inside I feel dead.
At least I got to talk to Ian for a little while this morning. Small bright spot against a cruelly long midday and an evening of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” But at least right now I’m actually enjoying being alone, and not feeling as if I should belong but don’t.
A????? ????? ??? – “I shall sing a sweeter song tomorrow.”
– KF –
27 days to my Ian