I am, in fact, full of Christ’s love. Damn it.

I think I need a break from church.

I was in fairly good spirits when I arrived, having forgotten my wallet and driving back home to get it so, in fact, I made two trips to church and STILL made it on time. I even got a compliment on my purse.

Hell, I even SANG ALONG in church. For the first time! Last week I sat in the front for the very first time, but this week I was back in my comfort zone in the back corner. I don’t want to intimate that I sang loudly or even well. I just had heard the song before and recognized parts of it.

And then the guilt trips began from today’s pastor. I’m sure he’s a lovely man, but sweet Jesus, his message was lost amid all the, “If you’re not volunteering your time to help this church out, you’re not as worthy of heaven as you think you are.”

Note on that: The interpretation is fully mine.

The point is, I left there feeling absolutely and utterly aggravated. I jetted out a full five minutes before I usually do. I was going to make a nice donation this week because of a special project that is going on next week, but I said fuck it and wrote out a $10 check, which was still more than I felt like giving.

Guess what, if I want a guilt trip, I can talk to the person who gave birth to me. She is ADEPT at making me feel like absolute dog shit because apparently I just don’t do enough to meet her supposedly (in her head) meager needs. Because paying her rent AND mine isn’t enough, I have to be nice, too. And I can’t manage both right now.

So anyways, I would have thought that the pastor would have encouraged us that, OK, so you can’t go on mission trips or be in prayer groups or whatever — so what. Just as long as you’re being a loving, faithful person in life in general and basically being a blessing wherever you go would be enough. Right? Or so I thought.

Nope, if you’re only coming to church and not helping it, well, if there was a holy way of saying “Eat me,” I am certain that is what we would have heard.

And then, today of all days, we had to fill out a survey about what we’re getting out of going to that particular church. Oh, honey, WRONG DAY TO ASK. Today when my head/neck/back/shoulders hurt just to think about, let alone touch, because that’s where I carry all my stress. Today when I was taking a sip of my coffee (that the church provides) and the pastor says, well, those of you who drink coffee here, what are you doing to give back. Today when I just want — no, NEED — my weekly confirmation that there is a God out there and that he’s a loving one who isn’t out to punish the good people and reward the assholes.


I adore my church. I really like the people. I would follow the lead pastor anywhere. And I understand that the other pastors are doing their best, but at the point of alienating their congregation, perhaps they may want to rethink the “We know you don’t mean to suck, but by not volunteering, you do in fact suck” lectures.

And, yes, I will be honest. I am angry because I DO have that guilt in my heart, that I could be doing more to help the greater good. I am WELL AWARE that messages like I heard today were aimed squarely at people like me, who are so consumed with their jobs and trying not to kill everyone around her, and who don’t make time for the community. But damn, people, I can’t even get a moment to MYSELF without getting a fucking guilt complex over it.

My friend keeps reminding me of airlines, how in the event of a decrease in cabin pressure, you’re supposed to don your safety mask first BEFORE helping others with theirs.

And I can’t breathe right now. How am I supposed to save someone else when I am, in fact, suffocating?

A part of me thinks that I can save everyone and myself at the same time. That by doing for others and putting them first, I will feel satisfied and rewarded. But you know what? I am wondering when the day will come when someone else will put me first or at least on par with themselves. And at the rate I’m going, I don’t know if there will be an empathetic bone left in my body to appreciate that day if ever it comes.

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