Friends, Welcome to phase three of After Church. At this point, you’ve left your church or institutional faith spaces for good, or at least, for now. You’re leaving what you’ve known. You’re stepping out. Now, you’ll grieve. While the first two phases,
I’m reminded of a time when I was in grief and reading a novel by Justin Cronin, a line that has stayed with me,
‘Grief was a place, Sara understood, where a person went alone. It was like a room without doors, and what happened in that room, all the anger and the pain you felt, was meant to stay there, nobody's business but yours.’
It feels lonely. Going through grief is a process, I’ve recognised I’m a long way from where I started. There’s many twists and bumps in the road!
Looking back is something I recommend, acknowledge the journey, look back to what you missed out on and always wanted to do as a kid. Try new things, experiment (safely) - be creative and playful, listen to music, create the life that makes you feel. Meditate. Provide a safe space for you.
Learn about yourself and others, be open minded. Watch yourself come full circle, learn from your experience.
Thank you for the poem 🧡
I’m completely stunned - but perhaps I should not be. Spirit knows I’m hurting - and this goes to the core. My tired heart says thank you, thank you very, very much…
Thank you Kaitlin. What wisdom AndI sights you share. Your narrative speaks so dearly to me, and has me reflecting on all of the times I came to discover a community or institution or country were not what they purported to be. As a teenager in the south in the sixties, the harsh realities that came rushing to my young consciousness as the lies about civil and human rights, the terrible lies of the Vietnam War, the worth, value and rights of women, the plundering of the earth and environment, including right in my homeland, broke my heart and made me angry and full of outrage. More discoveries followed through the journey from there.
The anger and the rage subsides, but the grief and broken heart arise, especially as the reality becomes clearer of the terrible gap between the institutional and community values we hold and the ways that we practice.
I have been with so many whose grief from leaving church or a faith community came because of true harm done to them or others that they loved. The wresting away of a safe place whose hypocrisy came clear and/or whose welcome and love showed to be conditional and provisional depending on your social identity, your beliefs and/or the journey you felt called to and tor. For many, that is a grief that lasts a lifetime, even when love and belonging manifest elsewhere.
Sorry to write such a long comment. I will share that music, poetry, nature and the overwhelming power of kindness are always healing and beloved companions in my grief journey.
I also meant to share I ordered copies of your new book and more of Living Resistance at a local bookstore, the wonderful Water Street Books in Exeter, NH. I can’t wait to pick up your new book this week and Living Resistance is on back order, which I took as a sign it is very popular! 🙏🏻
I have been deeply supported by the reminder that I can only love a big as I grieve and I love BIG. That grief is an expression of love helps remind me of its worth, its necessity to be felt and how separated we've become from the death/life cycle. Nature often reminds me of this necessary and painful cycle. Reminding me of the seasonal ways things die and bloom and how we are not separated from this but so deeply linked.