This reminds me of when a dear friend started attending CrossFit *church* (as we jokingly called it). These are beautiful essays on a challenging process. 🩷 excited to listen to your hard things episode!!

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Yes! We find "church" in so many places that we often don't expect, and it's such a gift

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Maybe I am disillusioned, remembering it wrong, and maybe probably definitely I am way behind and off your point of your post, kaitkin, and i apologize to you all for that, but as I wander thru these posted steps, my head keeps drifting back to growing up in church (does anybody else remember times like this?) with the mindset that when we came to church, we slide the bullshit that separates us out of the way and focus on the thing we had in common, the thing, the function, that god drew us all to church for, that being the desire to come into gods house to recieve gods word and do gods work. Not to arrogantly drag out our differences into the spotlight and beat the living shit out of each other with them. Not sure what happened.

But, I dont think thats what he had in mind.

Jus' sayin'.

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The same year I stepped away was the same year(a few months before) that I started auditioning for community theatre again. I just realized that timeline, actually.

It was so scary. I felt tired to try to build relationships again. I still feel these things sometimes, but my resilience has grown. I’ve found again that spectrum of friendships - close to acquaintance - that I feel fondly for because we’ve bonded over something we all love. I’ve also been learning how to not like people, too. That has been freeing in a funny, lightbulb way. Cause it has helped me see that when people don’t like me, it’s not personal persay. I still value those people and want well for them, I just don’t wanna spend time with them. I’m ok now if people feel that for me. Nice conditioning from church is shedding more.

I do feel this is a space I have landed in. I don’t want it to go away, nor do I feel forced to stay. There is a balance with it, which contrasts the cognitive dissonance I felt among church community.

Life continues to feel, more and more, like it is opening up to me.

Thank you for this series, Kaitlin. It has given me words and helped me feel less alone.

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I’ve been cultivating spirituality more in direct peer-to-peer relationships, outside of the services or physical building of the UU fellowship my wife and I attend (and often love). It’s really warm and lovely: little pagan seasonal rituals in friends’ living rooms, folk songs by candlelight, intergenerational queer community...

Plus, I’ve been asking all my friends “how’s your spiritual life?” and having wonderful conversations that, even if we’ve journeyed together for years, we often don’t make time for, or are squeamish of. Seeing what it’s like to take ownership of my spiritual connections rather than relying on an Institution to provide them 💜

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