Are you sinning if you're not attending church?
Not reading the other comments, so this may have been said; but Branwyn bras are great too!
I'm 47, married, and childless. The lack of a legacy of children, my lineage essentially stopping with me grieves me more deeply than I can express. To be blunt, it makes me feel like my life lacks ultimate purpose (rightly or wrongly). Will anyone remember me after I'm gone? I can hardly bear it sometimes. Aging and the prospect of ending up alone in a home with no one to visit me is scary and depressing. Thank you for your honesty, which has provided a place for us to be honest, too.
Two things really struck me ...
So many of us are feeling lonely. I thought I just felt this way from the current circumstances of my life (grad school, full time work, kids, strained marriage), but reading your original post and then all the comments makes me realize it’s not just me. On one level it feels slightly less lonely to know so many are feeling this way, but that doesn’t meet the need of deep relationships. I try to make friends with the aloneness, and often it’s enough, but I also feel like the more I do the harder it is to find the deep connections.
I think my lack of church community is very much related to this. As I read your priorities in a church, I thought about the church where I’m a member. I can check the boxes and that’s why I stay. But, with an aging congregation (I’m 50 and far younger than nearly all the members who attend) I struggle to feel connected.
There are a lot of important things happening here, but I need more information on why merino wool undies are great.
"The truth is that I’m lonely, but I’m not lonely for superficial or wishy-washy relationships. I want the deep down stuff or nothing at all. And maybe that’s a space I need to grow in, be willing to weather the superficial stuff to get to the deep down stuff, but I just feel weary of it in a way I haven’t before." Thanks for sharing your heart in such a beautiful, vulnerable way. I think a lot of people are done with superficial friendships, but not all of them can say it so well.
Thank you for your honesty about loneliness. We are lonely in this season too, having left our church/relationships of 20 years. Its just hard. Wish we lived closer, you feel like a friend through your writing.
Also very much relate to the sadness of the world situation/future. Most of my adult life has been spent in a spiritual atmosphere of excitement around revival and our destiny as believers for something “amazing “ Having walked away from that, and just taking a look around at the world. It’s pretty depressing.
Thank you once again for fielding all these unrelated questions with such great pensiveness even though it obviously can hurt physically to do so. Pray you feel better.
I notice your many pastoral artists in your posts. I love Liddy Hubbell of Maine. ;)
Hi, Lore. Thank you for this post. What you said about being lonely was cathartic for me to read. I battle chronic feelings of loneliness, especially in friendships outside of my family, and most especially friendships with men, which have been borderline non-existent in my life for several years, despite my frequent attempts to initiate and be vulnerable with guys. (My father-in-law is the one exception to this. He regularly invites me out to lunch, where we talk about life and faith and work and random things.) So, thank you for going there, for being willing to say you're lonely. I think a lot of us feel the same, which, I suppose, helps us not feel quite as lonely.
As for church attendance, my dad was an evangelist, and then a pastor, so I was brought up to have some pretty strong feelings about the importance of "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together." The folks in my tradition definitely thought it was a bad idea, and I think a lot of them would have said it was wrong to skip church, but I don't think I ever heard anyone say it was an actual sin. I was quite surprised, then, when I began delving into the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, to find out that, in their view, not only is skipping mass a sin, but a mortal sin, one which requires specific types of confession and penance. This applies to Sundays, but also to other days of obligation, like special feasts on the calendar. Now I understand why, when we went to an all inclusive resort in Mexico last year, there was a chapel that provided the sacraments to resort guests on Sunday afternoons!
“The truth is that I’m lonely, but I’m not lonely for superficial or wishy-washy relationships. I want the deep down stuff or nothing at all. And maybe that’s a space I need to grow in, be willing to weather the superficial stuff to get to the deep down stuff, but I just feel weary of it in a way I haven’t before.”
Same. Currently making friends with the loneliness... I think it’s a necessary step for me. Your writing though offers a bit of companionship that I’m grateful for!
I so appreciate your deep thoughtfulness in how you answer these questions. We are a people who like a quick and easy albeit polarized response. Often, I think, the truth is found in the nuance. You provide so much here for deep reflection, and I am grateful. Continuing in prayers for your eyes.
Thanks for your honesty. You're not alone. This is an incredibly sad time as so many of us are feeling the weight of what's being lost - and the disillusionment of realizing that we never really had some of what we thought we did. I watched some of Rosalyn Carter's funeral and the sadness of it hit me a lot harder than I expected. To see Jimmy Carter so frail and to realize that we'll likely never see people as unpretentiously good as the Carters in the Whitehouse ever again. I'm old enough to remember their presidency and it felt like a By the Rivers of Babylon moment for me.
I have realised recently that I will probably die alone in an old people's home. My husband will die before me (statistically speaking) and I don't think it's OK to impose on my niblings. I find this hard, but I'm working on being OK with it so make that move without too much pain on those around me.
Holding you as you sit in a lot of unshakable sadness, Lore. Thank you for sharing!
And now I’m intrigued about merino wool undies!
These are helpful thoughts and answers. I appreciate your honesty about sadness you cannot shake, and weariness in your soul, and longings. Tis a good season for longing. Thank you for your words, which mean much to me.
"I turn 43 tomorrow and I think a childless future (thinking more about grandchildren and older children here) makes me more sad than I felt about a babyless future. " I feel this so much. We're still young enough that this could possibly change, but this is the hardest part of infertility for me. Childless now is challenging, but we also love the freedom for adventures, but thinking of growing older alone is so hard.