End of an Era

It’s painful to feel the rawness of a community’s end. It’s easy to want to blame somebody or brand the former days as the better, but that’s all nonsense.

Two years ago, I began participating in a church in Aurora as part of a Sunday night Bible study. It was full of people involved in various ministries who would come together to share what God had been doing in their lives, and it was a tremendous breath of fresh air. I did not know many of the people, so I often sat in the corner, but it was the sort of corner-sitting that left you feeling welcome and accepted, and it was tremendously hospitable just hearing the words of those who hungered and thirsted for the Lord.

Some left and then others, arguments happened,  groups shifted, and it all fizzled out. But I kept going on Friday nights and made several friends. I was still excited to be a part of a community that wanted to make a difference. I guess I kept telling myself things would improve, but they never really did. One by one my friends disappeared, and several times I would turn up only to find one or two people I knew. Last week it became clear to me that the community was gone. I attended their Christmas party tonight, but it will likely be the last.

It’s extremely difficult to find people who are interested in the things that I am. There is, of course, the internet, but I’ve never been a fan of chatroom discussions and long-distance friendships. I never understood why more of my peers didn’t want to really do something with their lives, so fitting in at church has always been difficult. There are plenty who want to be missionaries, but not many who want to use their professional skills to do missions. And if you want a good sociological discussion, you’re an extreme minority.

I just want to fit in, to feel like I belong. I want a community I can call my own. I guess we never completely get that. I’m not really sure what the future holds. My current church is good, but I don’t feel a great deal of resonance with their vision, at least not yet. They might be going to Nepal again this next fall, so maybe God has some plan for me yet in the midst of this.

It’s the end of an era, and I’m sad. I don’t want to think about how change can be good and how we grow, or about how sometimes it isn’t wrong when things fall apart. Right now I just want to face the questions inside, or scream the litanies I prepare for myself in fake conversations. Were I a better man, I could probably handle this more admirably, but for now I’ll accept it for what it is.