So It Is Written… So Let It Be Done…
Well, I did it. This morning I wrote a letter, the result of which officially withdraws my membership from the United Methodist Church. Setting the words in place on the page added a certain reality to the situation. It was hard to do; and I felt it deep inside when I did it. But, in the end, I feel that it was the right thing for me to do.
When I showed the letter to my dad – a retired UM elder – we shared tears and a long hug like we’ve never shared before. As painful, even heartbreaking, as this is the tears I cried were quite cleansing and there was a certain amount of release from the struggles I’ve endured when I sealed the envelope and let it go.
Over the past months, my dad and I have had long discussions about religion, the church (yes, they are two different things), and beliefs themselves. He has been with me throughout these difficult times and his counsel has meant so much. I have sought neither his acceptence nor his approval for this decision but I have found comfort in his, and my mom’s, loving support of my need to follow my heart.
It’s amazing how our relationship has transformed over the past few years into the kind of relationship I think should exist between parents and adult children. While he is still my dad, and always will be, we’ve become more like friends and colleagues (we work together) than father and son. There’s a mutual admiration and respect that many relationships are too immature to have when you’re younger and/or don’t take the time to get to know the real person on the other side of the paring. And for that I am so thankful.
Once again, I am unsure of where my path will take me from here, but I am strengthened by those around me as I go. To quote from my letter: “My sense of who God is and what that means for me has evolved into something that seems to lead me further and further outside of the United Methodist Church, while ever leading me closer to God… The road ahead is uncertain, but I step on in faith knowing that God is with me, guiding my way, and leading me into a fuller understanding of who God is and who I am to be.”