For the First Time in Forever I Went to Church Today

And so for the first time in forever I’ve gone to Church. For a year I couldn’t go because management at my place of employment made me start working Sundays and cared not one bit they were taking away my ability to practice my spirituality with community. But l woke up up at six this morning with a…whispering. That l should go to church. “No!” I said and rolled over and went back to sleep. And had a nightmare. Woke up with that thought, “Go to church….” “No!” I said and rolled over to sleep. And a worse nightmare! And I woke and said, “Okay! Okay!! I hear you!”

So l went and am glad that did, despite some big changes. Rev. Chris Michaels is gone, and he was in many ways a “guru” for me, the man whose teachings turned my life around and gave me a new definition of God I could live with. A “God” that isn’t an old man on a cloud, glowering down at us, ready to hurtle lighting bolts at the tiniest of transgressions. So that was a blow but one I knew had happened when I was working Sundays and couldn’t go. Then Monique is gone, pretty much one of the most talented vocalists I’ve ever known. There were other changes as well. But there were also good ones.

Lee Langston was there leading the music part of the worship and if possible, he is even better than he was before. There is a new lady on his team as well, I never heard her name, and she was quiet talented. Then Tom Jacobs led a Jewish prayer—mostly in English—the was hair-raising-on-your-arm beautiful and lit the Chanukah Candle. That candle is often called a menorah, which is a mistake. The Chanukah Candle has more candles. This one was huge and powerfully moving. Then Mike Irwin did the message/lesson and started it by saying something to the effect of, “I know there are mornings you wake up and you don’t feel like coming to church. You say you aren’t feeling spiritual at all. And you don’t go. But I am telling you that is the best time to come.”

I couldn’t help but smile. “All right, God, all right! I get it! I get it!” The message was about the Good Samaritan and funny, that is just what Lisa, my supervisor, and I were talking about this week. Because you see The Evil Team Leader got away with it again. I was not in trouble, but he got away with his deceit and lies once more. Everyone knows he is lying, again, but there is no proof and the cameras were not pointed the correct way to prove my innocence. I felt slapped in the face. I was numb. I was hurt. I was outraged. I felt so betrayed by our system. Everything fell apart then and I fought with my daughter Jayli, and my husband, and everyone and everything. I couldn’t write this week. I was being told once more to have faith. To let it go. That one day The ETL will get his just deserts. It was horrible. I get so tired of letting these things go.

But the truth really, really, really is this: Holding onto anger is like taking poison and expecting someone else to die. The Evil Team Leader is being hurt by my hurt and anger and frustration. In fact, it would probably bring him joy. I am the one who was hurt. I was the one poisoned. And I hurt the people I love with all the lingering of this poison.

So I have to let it go. I have to. I must. It isn’t always easy, but I have to. It is all I can really do.

And go forward knowing that I can only take care of me. I ultimately have to make the journey alone. And I must chose what I know inside is right. The light is inside of me. And I can let that light shine out of me. That is what I am going to do….

BG “Ben” Thomas


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