Archive for May 3rd, 2011
I went to church a few Sundays ago, for the first time in a long time, and despite the sermon, the songs that never fail to beg for my tears, the many faces of friends I haven’t seen in a while, I left dejected and almost wishing that I hadn’t gone.
Growing up in the church community I did, was not an easy task. Not just because people talked and everyone knew what everyone else was doing (and being rather judgmental while they were at it), or because it was so suffocatingly patriarchical, but also because church was the only acceptable social interaction allowed to the children of it’s members. Mothers marketed their daughters to the ‘good boys’ from the ‘good families’ by accentuating their daughters’ assets. And daughters learned from a young age where their strength lay.
Regardless of the finesse about it, the Sunday service was a parade. A test of the ‘at home’ finishing school, if you will. Very few girls lacked that subtle sexiness. That certain way of walking, certain way of smiling. That enjoyment of being feminine.
I left soon after I got married. Far too long I had one foot in and one foot out, weighing, deciding. Whatever spiritual connection I had experienced on Sunday was gone by Monday morning. I figured that I had outgrown it. It was time to move on. Sure I missed the people, my friends, my family. Their little idiosyncrasies. But I didn’t want to raise my children there and become a victim of indifference. And I didn’t want to become like some of the church leaders and some of the parents, seemingly incompetent in dealing with the rampant drug and alcohol abuse, pretending it didn’t exist - not in their church, not in their child -or, if allowing that it did, addressing it in ineffective ways.
And years later, still addressing it in ineffective ways. Sometimes I want to stand up and shout: Wake up, people! Addiction needs more than just prayers and fasting. Your children need understanding and love and REAL help. Listen to them, hold them, stop obsessing what others think of you, and focus on your child.
Here is the conundrum, not just for this generation of young girls and boys and their mothers and fathers, but for the church leaders as well, and I cannot ask this enough: What does it take to wake us up from this slumber? One of our young ones dying of a drug overdose? Every time I hear about someone dying I hold my breath, fearing that it’s someone’s child. All my life I’ve heard my parents say that everything they’ve done, they’ve done for us, their children. So WE could have a better life. I am not blaming and I am not pointing fingers, but my heart aches for these kids, and my heart aches for their parents, and I wish the church would do something. For once.