Dear Church Sisters:
First of all, thank you for drawing me out of my shell yesterday at church. I wanted to run away instead of talking and listening to you. Why? Because I’ve come to hate small talk that includes questions such as: “How are you?”, “How was your week?”, and “How is work?” Ugh. You have a particular gift of holding down timid people like me and making good use of each encounter; though I wanted to run away you still managed to bombard me your good advice.
The truth is I am doing ok, but it feels like I’m doing badly. My week was very busy, though it felt like I was wasting a bunch of time, and work–well . . . can we please have a conversation that doesn’t involve work? Work is well enough where I left it, two or three weeks ago when I quit. I don’t want to talk about work, I feel nauseous, and apologetic, so let’s please drop it.
Please understand, Sisters, that I am bewildered at life–It’s not at all like I thought it would be. I’d always known myself to be smarter and talented than most. But life is about grit and determination, not just ability. And to get the job you really want is mostly about who you know more than your GPA and the awards you get. The discovery of truth felt like having the ground you stand on suddenly drop out. Furthermore, it’s embarrassing to admit that I don’t have it together, that I am struggling against the feeling of failure in most areas of my life.
It’s come to the point that the place where I could find comfort and refuge–the church–has become a place that I dread going to because I look at so many happy and fulfilled people and I find myself wishing I could be like them. Finally, it’s because there I encounter people like you; people who make me uncomfortable, that persist in drawing me out, and challenge me to embrace the future, and love myself regardless of my circumstances. I hate it. But I realize I have more reasons to love it than to hate it. Because family and people who really care will give you advise, and will deliver that smack in the back of the head to put you back in reality, and tell it like it is–and all in love.
That is why I have to say Thank You. Thank you for caring enough about me. I was annoyed, and I even felt like crying in the restroom after talking to you. But I know you are right–and I know that it was very good advice. I expected no less from a real church family.
I know this phase will soon pass. God willing, I will soon find my place in the world where I will do the most good. And one day my heart will be filled with love and compassion for a young, bewildered youth who is feeling lost and lonely and insignificant. When that day comes, I hope to be wise and caring enough to return the favor–just as you did.
Paula (on behalf of the Young Adults in your church)