Saturday, November 10, 2007

But it was the right decision

Today I photographed a wedding at the church I grew up in. It was totally surreal. When I was a baby that church was one building that acted as a sanctuary/recreation room/classroom. I have pictures of myself as a super young kid out front of the church, which at the time was surrounded by farming fields. I watched it grow and saw addition after addition and the fields around it were demolished and replaced by houses.

Mostly it was surreal because when I got to the church this morning and had a quiet moment to walk around by myself.... it looked old. But such memories! I had my first crush there, I was the youth group president, dances, choir, summer camp, dressing up like Wacky the Duck for the bible study program (wish I had pictures of that!), sitting with dear friends during Christmas Eve services..... I loved church, and at some point I knew I wanted to be a minister. To do good, to help, to lead. That was the plan at least....

But this is the church that broke my heart as well. I remember so clearly the day that the youth group leaders pulled me into the parking lot to dress me down over things people claimed about me.... Mean things someone said about me that the the youth leaders latched onto and attacked me about. When I was just a kid! And the 'adults' who were supposed to provide us a good, safe environment pulled me into a parking lot and made me feel the worst I can ever remember feeling. I was so confused and hurt. So I left because I felt clearly that's what they wanted. And you know what? I think they were relieved that I left, which hurt even more.

Sure I tried another church, but it wasn't ever the same. Even though I had many friends there, I didn't fit in like I fit in at my church. So I left 'the church'.

I don't hold any ill will towards the church though because I really had such a wonderful, grounded upbringing there. I have the best memories and I feel blessed to have had the experiences I did. But I know I made the right decision by leaving.

I have never talked specifically about religion here because its such a touchy subject, but man, the memories just got me today.

And maybe I'll feel regret over writing this tomorrow because even 12 years after that day in the parking lot, it still hurts.


Anonymous Em said...

I know that surreal bittersweet feeling you are talking about. It can be a very special or very horrendous thing.

And I will just say something that I think is so true ... Find another church, just don't let misguided people steer you away from something that is so good for all of us -- the chance to congregate with people who share our faith. It's a powerful thing.

Okay, that's all I'm saying about it. :)

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Gus said...

I'm sorry I hurt you. And I'm sorry that you had to relive that today.

And don't regret what you write on this site. This is YOUR site. YOUR place to share whatever you want.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Crystal said...

I had a similar experience with the church I grew up in, and it was some youth leader trying to give me her "wise advise"... It broke me for quite some time. I stopped going ...
At church I was labeled as the loose drunken party girl. It was kind of amusing because I've never been drunk (I'm 32) and my "first time" was my wedding night(at 28).
It took time but I found a great church and I relate to a few women there .. and they have a really cool small group that is filled with other firefighters,police,emt peeps and their wives !!!!
(oh and I also graduated from Dobson High)

6:53 PM  

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    I'm Amanda. I'm an engineer in an industry full of men, a professional wedding and family portrait photographer, a firefighter's wife, a traveler, and a dogMa.

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