I tucked the tomato plants into the earth. They were soggy messes after all this rain, and I bid them enjoy drier feet and all the manure I dug into the soil weeks ago. The potato plants are peeking up above the leaf mulch. The large chestnut tree we had felled last week lies forlorn across the yard, the leaves slowly curling and dying. The bees have settled nicely, no longer sounding testy so I’m guessing that they’ve got their queen and all is well.
There’s a lot of good here. Friendly neighbors, clean air, huge towering trees, birds, squirrels, flowers, life. It seems flagrantly inappropriate to be sad, to behold all the beauty and feel heartsick.
See, church isn’t merely a social club, nor a solace, nor a support or crutch. It’s not just getting together with like-minded people. It’s standing together with God’s people, worshipping Him, and in the sacraments, standing at the place where heaven and earth mingle, where eternal touches temporal, Creator touches created, and the veil between the two is lifted just a bit. Where Heaven becomes a bit immediate and less obscure.
We don’t belong to a church yet, though we’e visited quite a few. I can’t remember the last time I had communion. My son wants to be baptized. We don’t know what to tell him. My heart wants to run with him down to the stream and simply do it. But our understanding is that this is something you do within a context of your church family, not solo. I ask him to be patient; to give Daddy and I time to figure this out.
But this is wearing on me; we aren’t meant to live the Christian life alone. How I long for Heaven, where we will worship together without the painful disunity of denominational differences, without our haranguing sins tainting every joy. No more suffering and no more tears.
He who does not choose to suffer for the sake of truth will be chastened more painfully by suffering he has not chosen.
-St Mark the Ascetic
We in no way regret our decision to leave our home church, though we deeply miss our friends there, our community there, our family there. The suffering we’re undergoing now is hard, but continuing on in that place would have been harder yet in a soul-numbing way.
So beauty is all around me and my eyes swim with tears.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. -Psalm 34:18
Lord have mercy.