State in church

I go to church for the experience. You might ask, “why else would someone go?” Habit. To learn something. To try new things. To feel closer to God.

Before your outraged little fingers start firing off a reply… I know I probably left out a few things.

I’m a situational cynic, and this is one of those times – I think most go out of habit. I’m not quite as bad, but I’m not someone who hangs on every word either. I don’t feel a whole lot closer to God, but I do feel a renewed sense of faith. It doesn’t come from the words or the routine, but from the community.

Well, it turns out I’m pretty unforgiving, and it’s ruining the experience.

Fourth grade was a hard year for me, mostly because of two verbally abusive teachers. My mother scrounged up enough courage to make a visit to the school to confront them over it. If you’ve read anything about my mom here, you know this was quite a feat. There was one teacher in particular who devastated me, telling me I was stupid in front of the class – on several occasions. It wasn’t like I had it coming (not that it would be a good excuse). My greatest sin in school was being quiet. I was painfully shy, going out of my way not to stand out in any way. And yet she called me out. In front of everyone. It was my first full year in school in FL (after the move from MA), I didn’t have many friends, and my prospects didn’t improve – being crowned the class idiot. When my mother complained, the school covered for her – saying she was having trouble in her personal life.

Well, I guess that makes it ok to pick on eight year olds, carving out a chunk of their self esteem, leaving a little scar just under the surface – something you can nervously run your fingers over and feel for years.

The school did some testing on me too, to rule out the teacher being right. (Ah, the smell of fresh cynicism in the morning.)

I bet you’re pretty smart. You’ve connected the dots by now. She joined my church. I see her every other Sunday.

It turns out anger, bitterness, and resentment don’t mix well with the church going experience.

I hadn’t thought about her in years. I’d moved past it, albeit with a lot of help. And to be fair, my issues ran a little deeper than fourth grade.

Give the gift of words.