Went to church today and was treated like a leper. Don’t normally make the 10.30 service any more as it’s hard to get up and about and over there in time. God and I haven’t exactly been best buddies in the last months. But today I woke up in good time so got myself there, I was hoping it would remind me of happier days when this was my regular worshipping community.
I used to think of the woman in question, who ironically is a member of the welcoming ministry, as a friend. We’d meet up for coffee regularly and chat. She’s been one of the few people who’ve been distant since I’ve been ill. I haven’t seen her in six months.
So I got to church and she couldn’t look me in the eye, just shuffled her newsletters and said a very unwelcoming sotto voce hello. I was dumbstruck, which doesn’t happen very often. Nearly turned on my heels and left. So this was what crossing the road to avoid talking to someone actually looked like.
Then another member of the congregation spotted me and gave me a warm welcome. The service itself was lovely though very poignant – the first line of the first hymn, “when you cross the barren desert” certainly resonated.
Her reaction really made me think about why it’s so hard to walk with people in trouble, whether emotionally or physically. It’s not as though what I’ve got is infectious, but for some reason she just couldn’t bear to look at me or interact at all. I’m hoping I’ve never done that to anyone as it feels dreadful.
Then I realised although it felt very personal, of course it’s not about me, but some problem of hers. Think the welcoming committee needs a word though.