Some mornings call for three to four cups of coffee. Not for lack of sleep, nor for the day ahead: I will not go to church, not this time, anyway. But in spite of the day ahead. Because I have made the decision to skip church. No, it is not a guilt inducing decision. No, it is not an unusual decision—I have yet to attend church this year. From where, then, comes the spite? You’re right, it is the church choices.
There is guilt, I suppose. Self-inflicted guilt. Do I not want to be accepted into the Christian MFT program that rejected me last fall? But, honesty first: I don’t want to be false. I will not go to church for the program. I will go if it feels somewhat correct. And currently, it is not correct. Yes, I have carved myself out of church. But, God carved herself out too. At least so far as I can tell.
I find—and it is miraculous I can say this—a touch of God when praying. Nope. I don’t pray with spoken words rolling through my head or off my lips. Yes, I write God letters. And while I still feel no response, it has become a peaceful exercise. And while I hate to admit it, that peace just might be God.
Why would someone so frustrated, so angered by God’s silence, be so hesitant to admit to his possible presence? Because hating God has become safe, comfortable, known.
Back to church. As in my Sunday Prayer entry, I’m fearful of what might be should God show up. I’m fearful of what the priest might say. I’m fearful of what the people will want. Of expectations.
And that is what I associate the church with: fear. And, I don’t want that fear confirmed, justified, by some careless sermon; I take the words I catch to heart.
Spite. In spite of today. Spite feels better than guilt, so I spit fire at the day I choose not to have: a day of community (what a lonely person needs), a day of listening (what an introverted, word-lover excels at), a day of possibly feeling a distant deity (what I think I crave). Or, is it a day of people (those overwhelming beings), a day of judgment and chastisement (the Church’s specialty), a day of rejection by an ever-absent God (confirming my fears).
Conflict. That’s what I feel. Assume. That’s what I do. Predict. That’s my specialty. Twisted thinking. That’s what I’m indulging. Spite. That’s my crutch.
So I drink coffee. Four cups to clear my foggy mind, to mask the bitterness my soul is producing, to awake something in me, something distracting and satisfied to justify my spite.