this weekend i attended the wedding of one of my adoremus buds (the a cappella group i sang in back in jhu days). this kid is like a little brother to me, so there was no way i was missing out on seeing him cross that threshhold into this new season in his life....
the wedding was also an opportunity to sing with several former members of the group, and it was the first time in a long time that i got to see several friends (and meet their spouses, future spouses, or maybe future spouses). i had a genuinely lovely time and was so pleased for my little brother and his sweet bride (whom i hope to get to know more as time passes because, hey, she also happens to share my name!).
there were a few awkward moments in what was otherwise a great evening, though. i always hate when someone asks me the inevitable church question, because my answer will never please them. the truth is this: ever since i left the church i attended in gaithersburg, with the exception of one experience, i have yet to find something that fits. i'm generally disappointed, in fact, by most of my experiences and feel like it's basically me going through the motions rather than a genuine desire to be there and no amount of me trying to force my own hand seems to change that. as a result, my church attendance over the last few years has been spotty. and you know what? it's not like i'm 100% thrilled about that, but it's felt a lot better not to front.
but here's the thing, right? someone will ask me about church (and it'll always be someone i haven't seen or talked to in years) - put me on the spot at a truly awkward moment - and i'm never prepared to get into that kind of deep convo in an otherwise group social setting. it's not that i'm threatened to discuss it. it's just hardly ever appropriate. so then i wind up giving some very shallow answer, and they always respond the same way: disapproving look, some type of noise (like, hmmm.....), and then even perhaps some type of statement about how this is obviously wrong for me.
newsflash, people: you sitting there telling me such things isn't actually going to change my perspective on the situation right now. and, in fact, what it will likely do is cause me to back up even farther from wanting to share my thoughts with you. who in this world likes to feel judged? i'm thinking no one....
man, experiences like that have made me realize how judgmental i used to be about people whose outward situations differed from mine. i was in such a myopic place - not understanding that anything could ever fall outside of the box....not understanding that people go through seasons of differing experiences as part of their journey - and that these differing experiences don't necessarily mean that their journey has derailed - at least not irrevocably. i try now to operate much more under the 'until i've walked a mile in your shoes....' philosophy than i once did. and i seriously hope i never made anyone feel ashamed of their situation, even if inside i was disapproving. wow, if i did....God, please forgive me.
anyway, the older i get, the more comfortable i am with being outside this box of which i speak. and i know it's going to make other people super duper uncomfortable. so be it. i'm actually not interested in making others feel comfortable. but you know what? neither was Jesus. i'm not saying i'm like Him in nearly enough ways....but i still want to have His heart for others. i just don't want to alienate them in the process of growing in that direction.