Last night, I prayed. I did not set out to pray however. It was 2 am and I was still awake. I had switched off the lights in a bid to get myself to sleep. I was in a good mood, having written my first two pieces of the year. Trying to fall asleep when on a writing high is never a wise move, but here I was, taking it. It was Monday. I had to be up in a few hours for work; and so last night, I prayed. I talked to God about me. I apologise, there was nothing in there about the newly passed bills, mostly myself.
“Wow, Lord, it has been a while” I started off with what seems like small talk. It had been a while since I by myself said “I am going to pray”. That does not however mean God and I have not been in touch. We must have been in touch; otherwise there is no explanation for my current state of calm and hopefulness. Memories flooded my mind of some Wednesday about 2 weeks back when the day was so bad that I wanted to cry, and how a phone call from my sister had saved the day; of that week at work that was literally(wrong use) from hell and how in the middle of typing sentences, I would pause and ask for strength because I simply could not go on but had to; of monologues I constantly have regarding the things I have known to be true and my current state of questioning them.
So yes, maybe for this in the dark, all by myself prayer, it had been a long while.
I have not consistently been to a church service in over a year. I do not remember the last time I had bible study. Please do not get me wrong, I am not bragging. The last church service I attended was a dear friend’s funeral. The bible study I have these days is not the conventional bible study. I have been reading a book that has both brought to question and in some cases illuminated scriptures I have known for a while, quoted and even stood on. I have not really read any new scriptures, I have done more of meditating on the ones I already knew (or at least I thought I did) in light of these new things I am discovering.
I wrote that about 2 or 3 weeks back. I tried attending a church service 3 days ago. I hadn’t really planned on it even though I had been thinking about it. My original plan was to go get my nails done, but since church was just across the road, I figured I might drop by. So it comes as no surprise that when I found a really long line at the nail shop, I took a walk to church. Everything felt so strange. I was used to going to church by myself, what I am not used to, because it hasn’t happened in years is not seeing anyone I knew in the crowd. I got in just at the moment for the prayer that we usually have after the music. I quickly scanned the church for the least populated area and made my way to that seat, stood awkwardly as everyone prayed. Like I said, it has been a while since I have been part of such communal prayer. Also, we now have a waterfall at the place where the drummer used to sit, right there dead centre, that kind of threw me off. I couldn’t switch them off, those pesky thoughts
“Oh we have a waterfall? Why do we have a waterfall?” plus I was sort of hungry and for some strange reason sleepy.
Unfortunately for me, I was not on my pew long before people chose to join me. The dude (the one who speaks before the pastor) asked us to high 5 our neighbour and my closest neighbour was far from me but he decided to move closer. After we had settled down, the dude said it was time for us to watch church news as we give.
We were then asked to share a testimony from our week with our neighbour which was great because I like that sort of thing. And he went on to say, we give because we are grateful for what the Lord has done for us; bam! Another one of those pesky questions and thoughts.
“So we give him money?” but I have done it forever and so I gave. Anyway, after this, the pastor came and told us about the series that he had been teaching on, especially for us who were there for the first time. However something was wrong, I kept feeling sleepier, kept fumbling with my phone and I even received a call from work which I ignored, my phone was on vibrate anyway. Oh but the work people insisted and so I excused myself to deal with whatever emergency it was. Afterwards I walked out; I did not go back inside for the sermon. I ran into a friend outside and we just sat and talked. A few more came by, stopped for a little bit, asked where I have been all this time and they promised to follow me up.
I did not wake up one day and decide that I have stopped going for church services. In fact, I have not stopped, I just haven’t been to a church service in a long while and I am okay with it. I am even okay with the fact that I question the pastor’s and the dude’s statements. That never used to be the case. At first, I was so afraid of “losing” my faith that I was never honest when I had doubts. I never dared to ask nor talk about those things. I have been in the asking place for roughly 2 years now. Within the past 2 years, I have met people like me, who are believers but askers also, those who are not so into the believing thing but doubt what I believe and those who just presented so many options. I used to be afraid of these people; they “stumbled” me; they were in a sense planting seeds of doubt in my heart. Right now I feel like thanking them instead.
|Cue in, How far we've come- Matchbox Twenty :)|
I believe life and faith are a journey. I do not think we ever arrive, otherwise that’d be like saying they are static and the same for all. I am on a journey; 2 years ago, I never could have, for the life of me thought I would be here today, but I am and it’s okay.