One Year Later
It’s been just about one year since I last stepped into a United Methodist Church as a member. It’s been a strange time, religiously speaking, when I look at what’s happened – or not – these past 12 months. And I’m not sure what is over my next horizon.
After taking August 2005 to decompress and allow myself some time to let go before picking up and starting over, I began to attend a somewhat local UU congregation. The music was wonderful, the preaching inspired, the imagery was deeply moving, and the use of silence offered a peace I had thought I’d lost. It was a great place to be. It was challenging and it was comforting all at once, stimulating me on many levels both spiritually and intellectually.
But I stopped going. Maybe it was because of the distance from my new place. Maybe it was the absence of others my age to provide for that sense of community. Maybe my introverted nature and the associated fear of new situations held me back. Maybe I wasn’t ready to start something new. Maybe a single month wasn’t enough time to move on.
Looking back, maybe a single year isn’t enough either. I’ve been feeling guilty lately that I haven’t yet found my place in a religious community. I was a United Methodist for 24.5 years and I’m not certain that one year is enough to adjust to leaving. With work and continuing to volunteer with a UM youth organization, I still spend a good deal of time with United Methodists and find myself feeling like nothing’s changed. And I find that frustrating.
I often wonder if I’m standing in my own way. Is my participation in a group that is associated with something I no longer belong to keeping me from walking my own path? (Let alone asking if it is appropriate for me to be an advisor to such a group.) Am I just creating excuses to not look further at my religious options? Or am I just not ready? And what are the implications on the other areas of my life?