I just can’t go to church right now.
I can’t wrestle with my kids in masks for an hour while trying to keep us all away from everyone. I can’t keep them from using the bathroom six times during that hour.
Church requires an obnoxious amount of ssshh-shing and whisper-disciplining during normal times. But with a mask on, I would have to stand at the pulpit and use the microphone to keep my pew in line. The mom look is rendered totally useless.
You know how I would manage a pew of seven in a regular year? I would fill the oldest four full of snacks and hand the baby off to any willing soul. And it’s one of my favorite things about bringing a baby to church.
But all of that’s off the table right now, and I’m not willing to do church without it.
And this might seem like a petty thing, but I need the mask break. I wear the darn thing for the majority of the day, five days a week, trying to protect myself and everyone around me. I relish the two days on the weekend where I never have to wear it as long as I don’t leave the compound, a.k.a. home. My mascne (mask-acne) is raging out of control. I’m not willing to spend another half day wearing it.
But logistics and vanity aside, I don’t have the emotional energy to rally myself and my family for another setting and another community of people. All week long we are exposed in the school, five out of seven of us with full face-to-face learning. I feel guilty sending the other two into daycare and going in and out of that home twice a day.
I can’t quite fathom bringing our chaos and germs into our church family who we love and care about, many of whom are in the high-risk category. I know several of them have taken safety precautions all along. I want them to feel comfortable coming to church to be present with the community and not worrying about what my crew and I are bringing in from the schools.
I carry enough worry and anxiety in my body throughout the week, I can’t add another physical space and group to it.
I need to stay home and take care of my family on the days I can because the days I can’t feel so out of my control. Call it self-care or self-preservation, it’s a constant struggle of what I’m able to do versus what I’m willing to do. Maybe I’m going about it all wrong. Lord knows I feel guilty for not going. But right now I just can’t.
I know Jesus understands, and I’m thankful for God’s grace and peace when I need it the most. I’m thankful for Facebook Live. This week our pastor used the analogy of a tree that may lose its leaves due to environmental circumstances, but if its roots run deep it will be OK. In the next season, it will see new life. And right now that is my prayer, that both my church and my own roots run deep and that we will be OK because I still need my church and my church still needs me.
And in the next season, we will both see new life. I can’t wait for that!
In case you haven’t been, please pray for your spiritual leaders. They are struggling too—big time. What to do, how to do it, where have the people gone, are they being fed spiritually, are they safe, are they lonely? Just as I need grace in abundance, I know my pastor friends all do too. So from me to them, don’t worry about me. I’m here with you online for now. And I’ll be back. You hang in there, too, and thank you for all you are doing. I see you and thank God for you.