And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. - T.S. Eliot
This quote came to mind while I was at an Anglican church service yesterday morning.
I am not near the end of my exploring, but I did feel a resonance here. It has been a long time since I have been to a church service. Weary and burdened by so many disappointing stories, frustrations at church hierarchy and patriarchy, deep sadness and solidarity with so many of my friends who have been bruised by my Christianity, my heart was having trouble sitting in a pew lately. A sort of spiritual depression, an exploration of self and the divine beyond the church walls brought me to many good and interesting places. Also painful ones. Why are churches such difficult places to be?
And then, why do I crave them so?
I entered this church carefully, alone, somewhat familiar with the people and the walls there. Many things brought me to that pew, including disappointment, hurt, listlessness and a bad complexion. Not much hope; more desperation for something meaningful to grab onto on a sunday morning.
The second we began communal prayer I began to cry like a little baby, which was awkward because right after we were to shake hands and share the peace with everybody. This return to this pew and this church and this specific expression of faith, speaking words of utter dependance on Jesus, grace, and love felt so missed by my soul. I felt so relieved, so like I belonged somewhere again, it all felt so familiar and tangible and hopeful. Also so unexpected.
Back again for the first time. I am not sure what the future holds here or where I will end up. But yesterday was a gift that I deeply grateful for.