I was disappointed, of course, until Mom told me that they had taken an offering for the pastor, which had turned out to be quite a bit of money, especially considering that there are only about 300 people in the church.
Mom told me that after this was announced, he got up to say something, and ended up saying that it wasn't very often that he was completely at a loss for words.
It was just one event, and it should have been joyful, but it was added to a litany of things that I had not been able to be at because I was a thousand miles away. All of a sudden it really hit home to me just how much I have been missing out on, and it hit me hard. It hit home how much I wanted to be there, with my church family. I wanted to be able to see his face as he was presented the money, to hear him struggling for words to express his gratitude. I wanted to be there, sharing the fellowship of my church family.
I realized how much I missed the community that exists at that church. At the church I attend when I'm at school, there are over a thousand members, and it is impossible to really get to know very many of them. There is a sewing group that I was a part of my first year; they have that sort of fellowship and community, but on a much smaller scale, and I can't go very often because of my classes.
The choir that I sing in sort of has that community, but we only meet for an hour every week, and that doesn't leave any time for us to do more than come, sing, and leave. The same is true on Sunday mornings. I do have some really good friends, but I miss the group fellowship.
I realized just how much I have lost and stand to lose. I want so much to go home after I graduate, but I don't know if I can. I realized that day that if I move somewhere else, I will keep seeing people talk about events, and will be unable to share in them. In some ways, seeing that something is happening and being unable to attend is worse than not knowing about the event at all. And yet to avoid knowing about events would mean I would have to cut myself off completely, and that would be worst of all.
That is what I am afraid will happen if I cannot go home. I will be cut off from that world, no longer able to be a part of it. I will be on the outside, looking in as the people I have known for years carry on as usual, only without me.
I know that I am not really cut off. Nor am I really adrift, with nowhere to go. But that is how it feels sometimes. I still believe that I am where God wants me to be, but at times like these, I feel isolated and lost. I feel like if this was really where I was supposed to be, I wouldn't feel this way.
When I'm here at school, I feel like I'm split between two worlds. On one side is the world that I grew up in, where I have a place and a community. On the other side is a strange world, full of unknowns and uncertainties, and at times I fear that it is this world that I will be sucked into; no longer pulled in two but fully cut off from my community and my lines of support.
I know that this is not really the case. Even if I move somewhere else, I will find a church and will begin to establish the fellowship and community that I need. But I will still see the things happening at home, and I will still feel like I'm missing out. But that will have to be okay.