On surviving a church closing…

The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared!”

I totally get that.

I’m one of those people who checks the weather every morning, and always has band-aids and ibuprofen.

But how do you prepare for the things you can’t see hitting you?

Two weeks ago, the church campus my husband and I had been attending for almost two years closed. My husband was a part-time pastor. I was a kid’s ministry leader. For months, we poured ourselves into serving the amazing people that attended our campus.

After I found out the campus was closing, I was depressed for a few solid months. When you give so much to something, seeing it dissolve is incredibly difficult. To me, it felt like a death.

My husband was also hit by the loss. Not only did he take care of me, he was trying to take care of church members – and make sure he was coping with the loss.

Yesterday, the long-term impact of losing a church finally hit me. I looked at my husband and said, “You know what? That was really fucking hard on our marriage.”

To which my husband replied, “Duh.”

How should we have prepared for that? Is there something that could’ve curbed the loss, or reduced our grief?

We prayed about it.
We read the Bible.
We told our friends.
We told our family.
We shared ourselves.

But, in all honestly, I’m not certain that all of that made the pain any less terrible. Maybe a little?

Maybe we just didn’t trust God enough? Maybe we just didn’t lay our yolk upon him fully? But I doubt that.

Sometimes, I tend to think we put too much stock in happiness. We tell ourselves we deserve the ‘pursuit of happiness,’ and when we aren’t pursuing that – we feel like failures. How many people have damaged the ones they love in pursuit of their own happiness?

In full disclosure, I’ve always had a melancholy personality. I find a weird joy in understanding grief, and I’m not a huge fan of big changes.

I think the reality is, there are just some things in life that happen for which you cannot fully prepare.

I think the reality is, you cannot always be happy.

I think the reality is, sometimes, you just have to go through something. You can’t check the weather. You can’t pack band-aids. You just have to weather the storm, and check yourself for cuts when you come out.

This storm has passed (I think). Our church campus has closed.

But after the storm passed, I looked around to survey the damage and I was incredibly surprised.

Our church members were all safe. The kids we ministered to are transitioning to the ‘big church.’

Most importantly, my husband and I made it through this together. When I was down, he held me. He didn’t push me back up (I’m probably too stubborn for that anyway). When he was down, I helped him brace through it. It sucked while we were going through it, but we made it out okay. We have come through this event with a stronger marriage. I love and respect my husband more today than I ever have.

After this, I’m sure there will be more. We don’t know what is next, for time and chance happens unto them all. I don’t know what could happen next. Maybe something joyful and amazing? Maybe something not so great?

All I know is, somehow – someway – we’ll be ok. Everything will be ok.

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