When a death is imminent, there is tension in the waiting. Once death comes, the fight for life is over.
After my mother died, the feeling of relief caught me off guard. I anticipated wailing. Instead, a weight felt lifted.
Similarly, after our decision to leave our church, I felt relief along with the disappointment, sadness, anger, disbelief, and grief.
As with Mom’s death, I fought numbness, a familiar way for me to deal with painful emotions. Ambivalence twirls my brain and invites me to second guess decisions.
Another common feeling after a death is denial, this felt like a bad dream. If we could just wake up. The “writing on the wall” yet sudden finality was reminiscent of our leaving full-time ministry. One day we were there, the next day we were not.
Gregg was an unwavering, grounding, protective, and comforting presence as we, together, felt our way along this dark pathway. His actions spoke life and healing into my hurting yet newly awakening heart. I finally heard, received, and still savor the message Gregg had been communicating our whole marriage, “Kristin is worth fighting for.” His affirmations remain a cherished gift.
Though grieving, we put one foot in front of the other. We had been here for ten years, the longest I have ever lived in one house. Yet, here we were, looking for a church for the first time since moving to Jacksonville.
It was not a question of whether we would go to a church, but at which church. We had deep conversations, discussing qualities that seemed most important to us, knowing that no church is perfect. Attributes we chose to pay attention to included the congregational size, style of worship music, the teaching, and availability of small home groups.
Being new is often awkward and lonely, a reminder that we no longer belonged. Yet, we were not in a hurry to choose another church body. We gave our torn hearts time and space to mend.