Easter came early this year. But in leading up to Lent, I was researching churches in my area to figure out which one I'd like to call my spiritual home. Bummer that I could not find any with a Sunday evening mass, as I am a fan of sleeping in on the weekends. It is also seems like a good way to end the day at the start of the week. It takes a little bit of that Sunday dread away, a remnant from my life from teaching (Yes, teachers can have that same sinking feeling as students as the weekend comes to an end and early Monday morning is waiting.). I scoured the Internet and FB to glean the vibe of the church and if I would fit into its community. Then I saved the mass schedules and addresses of the churches on the short list. My plan was to try them out. T~ has been supportive in saying that he will attend with me, despite us having different faiths.
Just before Lent was kicking into gear, we got up one Sunday morning and went to church. The building was a bit more modern for my taste and the priest seemed a little full of himself and a little showy. However, I liked the vibe of the people who attended the church. They seemed friendly and kind and it had a welcoming family feel.
But at a second glance, I realized just how many families were present and it felt like a really high ratio. Granted this was a mass that offered Sunday school, but it still felt like a lot. I started to feel uncomfortable and sad. It made me realize how differently I had once imagined my life. I pictured it with children, which would include taking them to church. Surrounded by children and families made my heart ache. Yes, maybe T~ and I may one day have a child. But, it will likely be one...maybe, maybe two. But it will not be the brood I had once imagined. It will not be the same.
And I felt that twinge of one day having a large family die.
How I longed for a simple life and not one with all of these complications postponing these dreams of a family of my own. How so many take it for granted that it all seems to fall into place. Why has it worked for them and not for me? How very far away it all feels to me as more and more people my age have finished building their families. They are in the thick of it, the exhausting thick of it, and I feel like I am missing out. I continue to be the outsider looking in and missing the dream that will never be.
I feel small for having these feelings. I am tired of the heartache. I am over the reminders of what I don't have. It is especially difficult when I am trying so hard to be strong, to be grateful and to dream new dreams.
So, unfortunately, I have not returned to church. I have avoided it. It is hard to be in a place to renew your soul while it is being crushed. I feel guilty. I have to stop feeling sorry for myself, refocus on the positive. It is hard to let go of a dream.
But, maybe it is time to try again. Maybe I will try a different church this time. Maybe I'll try a time that does not include the children's mass.
The other big hurdle is going to be getting our marriage validated by the church. That is a whole other blob of judgment and possible rejection waiting for me. Ugh.