I sometimes fail to 'get it' and when I do I 'fail' to understand people maybe I then fail full-stop. It's a good job I understand that my status with God doesn't change and nothing I do can separate me from his love because I sure do feel separated sometimes from people.
I tend to be a bit breezy at times and I don't mean to be. I only really worry about the big deals in life - you know - death and disease and relationships (life, love and health-threatening stuff) things on that scale. Sometimes I just can't enter into other concerns compassionately and I think I might annoy people. One of my big wake-up moments in life was what I call the "That's my mug!" moment.
I was on teaching practice when I was about 22 years old and I entered the staffroom rather nervously in my first week to make myself a cuppa. It was thick in there with smoke and raucous laughter. I simply wanted a drink to scuttle out with before the next lesson's onslaught. I started to stir milk into my tea. A teacher then approached me to simply say, "That's my mug!". I smiled, possibly even giggled a bit, so convinced I was that this was a joke and a simply funny way in to bonding and striking up conversation with the new, nervous looking student - me. But, no, she was deadly serious. I had no choice but to swig a few gulps before throwing the rest away so that I could wash up and swiftly return her mug to her and I was left dumb-founded and really embarrassed. On a deeper level, I had been unable to connect with how important this item was to her. I hadn't predicted her response at all and was shocked by it. Because I probably showed by my face an inability to enter into an understanding of what I'd done and probably seemed unapologetic, I think I only riled her more. I might have even appeared a little arrogant.
Anyway, my husband and I keep falling foul of this kind of mis-match of thinking again and again. We are finding certain aspects of church-life difficult because we fail to take certain things seriously enough and I think we're upsetting people. We keep making mistakes. I've set up for holiday club, putting tables in the way of what should have been a space reserved for a prayer station, hubby doesn't take seriously enough things like certain cupboards belonging to certain people, teaspoons having to be counted in and back out again when you take them from one end of the church-building to the other. We sometimes fail to consult the right people over certain chairs or tables and where they can be put. We by-pass the whole financial thing time and again and rather than putting a 'chit' in for the chocolate and the crayons and the streamers and balloons etc that we've bought for youth etc, we just pay for it ourselves because it seems like such a hassle, writing the letter, including your receipt and then waiting for your cheque. But we are therefore not really providing the church with an idea of what all these things cost. The problem is with me is I can be a bit of a 'quick-fix problem solver' ie yes, I could spend all afternoon making the playdough and dying it different colours with food-colouring but then I realise I can prioritise other things by solving this one immediately, so I go out and buy the playdough but then can't charge the church for it because, well, you see, I could have made it! And so the circle of thinking goes.
Anyway, maybe I'm just shattered and I've taken on too much with a young family and a college course but we, particularly, I, keep getting into trouble and the human part of me sometimes wonders why do I bother... the politics and policies bit of church life is driving me crazy. I think I want to go into ministry but will I really hack it or will I just have the most ridiculous, breezy, crazy kind of church because quite frankly, if the members of my congregation lose a few teaspoons, I'll not be able to muster up enough concern to really care about it and perhaps this is not the mark of a good minister? I'll just go out and buy more spoons!
Things I find difficult about church-life:
1. Church, like every other place, has its 'in-crowd' and its 'out-crowd'
2. Certain people have access to certain cupboards etc and other people certainly do not have
3. Label everything and put it in boxes is the advice because people can't be trusted (Is this true?)
4. Ask for help because otherwise people won't offer
5. Everyone has their 'Yep, I'm here at the end of the service and no-one's speaking to me - wow - what an interesting piece of architecture that is - how long can I keep staring at this in interest? - no, I'm just going to have to go...' moments (it's not just me is it?)
6. These are problems at all churches, because they happen to be made up of frail humans, don't go running off to another church - it will only be the same (seeking reassurance with this one!)
7. Don't think that because you're a member of a Christian community that they will be nice to you, they will actually rather tell it as it is, but in love, of course!
HELP! I'm a sensitive church-member - get me outa here!