This was from the assistant minister at my church:
“I just heard from James, he stops by often during the week, that you were upset with Bob for something and I wanted to check in with that. We pastors always want the chance to hear what we did and make peace!”
Here’s my response:
James is right, but it’s not just with Bob. I’m mad at both of you. But I want to qualify that I’m not upset with either of you personally, it’s professionally. And it’s not for anything you did, it’s for what you didn’t do.
I went through a really stressful time turning my and the girl’s lives upside down trying to change my career and facing a real possibility of failure. I lost a semester of school, and $15,000+. Right on the heels of that, as things were finally coming together and smoothing out, my Mom died. But it wasn’t suddenly, it was a struggle with a bad nurse trying to kill her and us (my brother and I) trying to find the right help. Even before that, Mom had been on the decline for 3 years. And in all of this, I had no help from my church. I had told Bob back when things got serious, when Michael and I had to put Mom in a dementia care facility, and cried on his shoulder. Yet you were surprised this last Mother’s Day when I told you I had lost my Mom years ago, even though her funeral was only last October. Did Bob not tell you what was going on? When I was struggling with selling the house, I asked for help from the church. None came. After Mom died, I asked you to officiate her funeral, and you did. Then, nothing. From anyone. No one checked in. I showed up most weeks with the girls simply because I was trying to keep up with school while in my grief and financial poor-ness, and I could leave the girls in child care / church school for free while I sat in the Mayflower room and did my homework or studied. Church became just a large babysitter for me. Did you or Bob know? I doubt it. No one asked. It was like no one cared.
Initially I was mad at the church. But after a few months, I reflected, and remembered a few things. I remembered Renee’s son coming to me in person and offering to come over to my house every day after school to help me prep it for selling. I remembered Seth pulling me aside at Kroger and offering me money for a babysitter, telling me I was a good person and deserved good things. I remembered the A.W.E. and the support I got at my table. As I realized that there were members of the church who cared, I realized it was not the church at large I was mad at. It was the leadership I was mad at. The ministers, the ones who are supposed to look out for us members, and see that help is provided when we need it. That doesn’t mean the ministers themselves are personally providing the help, but at least being the facilitators.
So that’s why I’m mad. It took over a year, and a rumour from new member for you to finally reach out. At least I know James was listening too.