Blue Mist

I am foul. I woke up, early this afternoon, in a nightmarish haze, feeling absolutely shattered. It’s a cheerful enough day. But I am foul, foul, FOUL. The word rings through me.

Collected some more names this week, that being one of them. How dare I sully the reputation of the church; make out it is anything other than inclusive? How dare I post such vomit-inducing  posts? Did I not stop to think of all the people I would kill or make seriously ill? His words, not mine.

The fact that the church is not inclusive – but sweeps its lack of inclusivity under the carpet in a downright dangerous way – is not the issue here. Sitting with someone on Wednesday, feeling low and puzzled at feeling low, (bc Taize was wonderful) wondering why I broke down at a church meeting when someone told me I am intolerant for not being satisfied with mere tolerance of others (wanting instead a church that aims for acceptance – or better – love of others) I came to realize why I feel so sad, so easily. Stress.

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The minister is now back in town. So I have to face the hypocrisy, the exile, the injustice – the seething pain, all over again. Meanwhile, I have to decide whether to bother applying for a permanent job at the university that I’ve just left, knowing how much I want to be at the university where I have a temporary contract starting soon. Not knowing when therapy will start, the cans of emotional rubbishness long since opened and spinning unbidden through my mind. Knowing that my request for a friend to help me at Greenbelt – fully paid for –  has been ignored and refused: the best excuse “I might be doing something else”. Feeling like no one wants me around.

I am a thorn in the church’s side. I am foul. And I cannot – I cannot – withstand this feeling towards me for much longer. Actions speak louder than words. I don’t have the strength.

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2 Responses to Blue Mist

  1. Just a quick response as I’m still in Scotland and struggling between no signal and minimal signal if I stand at the window!

    For now, I just want to say that some people don’t have a clue, which is fully demonstrated by such words as ‘foul’ and ‘vomit-inducing’. You, my dear friend, are none of those things!

    ‘Inclusive’ is a difficult one. I’m sure most think they are, even though they’ve never really thought it through!

    But hey! I’ve never found you foul and certainly not vomit inducing! And I’m very glad that you are around! If my move happens, you must come and visit. (I’m making an offer once I’m back on Tuesday – have a look at my Facebook page.) You’d be very welcome!

    xxx

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  2. I don’t know who you were speaking to. I might be able to guess, but I’d probably be wrong. And it doesn’t matter!

    It seems quite clear that some neither understand you, nor mental illness, nor the nature of inclusion. And I’m not saying that I understand – at least not fully – maybe even not at all! But that’s not the point! Inclusion is about accepting, receiving, and loving people just as they are. It isn’t really about understanding them, but recognising the intrinsic worth of every person who would come through the door of the community we call church. It’s about including the disabled, the mentally ill, the aged, the LGB or T, the foreigner, the Muslim – whatever makes someone different; it’s about seeing past the difference and discerning the Divine in each one, no matter how obscured that image might be, for it is obscured in all of us.

    It’s easy to give assent to inclusion but, unless inclusion changes me in some way, it’s not really inclusion but mere tolerance. And I do not want to be tolerated either! That is simply patronising! And sometimes a thorn in the side is what is needed, but I’m concerned that you should feel yourself to be the thorn. You are the one in need of inclusion, love, acceptance! Most roses have thorns, some more prickly than others, but all roses have beautiful flowers!

    Of course you haven’t got it right! You’re ill! You’re wounded! And wounded people cry out in their agony. The church must be a place where the wounded can cry out. It may be uncomfortable for the hearer, but church is never about our own comfort! May God preserve us from that conceit!

    As for your relationship with the minister there is little that I can say, other than to remind you that the minister is hurting too and is trying to find their own way through recent trauma. So I would suggest that you tread gently and recognise that, although they would normally be someone you could lean upon, they aren’t right now – and that is not your fault – but there are others who can and will be there for you.

    And I am here, although ‘here’ may soon not be near Oxford. I really don’t have the answers, but I do have two ears! As and when I move, especially if it’s to my hoped for property, you must come and stay. I think you would love it!

    In the meantime, I hope you can hear that you are loved and that you are wanted. I hope you can block out the critical voices that would negate your personhood and discover yourself as the beloved daughter and woman of God that you are.

    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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