Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. What about you? How far would you travel for the best meal of your life?
When I first read this prompt last night, I was going to write about actual food. I will later today, and include some pictures about my adventures. But I woke up and instead of posting first and then reading new posts, I read all my new posts while eating my breakfast – and it has changed my mind.
Right now I want to talk about nourishment for the soul. How far would I go for nourishment for my soul? I honestly can’t tell you. It’s been a struggle in my life for I’d say almost a decade.
I was raised in a Christian house for most of my life. My family started going to church when I was two. I stayed at the same church until I was 23 and moved to Korea for the first time. Even then I was still a member until I was 27.
I’ve written about this before, so here is a (somewhat) condensed version: the church I went to had a great pastor until I was just starting high school. Then he “retired” (aka they pushed him out) and we began our LONG search for a new pastor. Our interim pastor was this 80 year old Irish man. I like to call him closed minded – simply because I think the word bigot is too strong for him and probably not the right one and calling an 80 year old Irish Pastor an ignorant douche seems extremely inappropriate.
We finally found a new pastor after several years, but by that time I had stopped going to regular services. I would go to Sunday School and then go home before the service. Then this new pastor showed up – he was young, hip. energetic and connected with politics and the world. Everything I wanted in a pastor. The congregation loved him. Then he turned into somewhat of a dictator. Our church was a congregational democracy you see and he wasn’t used to that. He started making changes without approval, and building up his deacons and elders to support him. People who had physically built the church, laying bricks with their own hands, started to leave. By this time I was ending my first stint at university. When I left for Korea I was happy to have the disconnect.
In Korea, I was forced to connect with my faith on my own. And it worked!! 2 weeks before I left I found out that there was an English Baptist church in the next town over from me – a little too late for my purposes but oh well. I went home and started going to my parent’s church and again my soul was nourished.
I moved back to my home town for teacher’s college and began going to my church again. Then I realized something – I had been gone from there for just over 2 years (maybe like a month or two over) and not once did the pastor send me an email to check up on me. He knew I was moving to Korea, but no emails to say hi and ask how I was, or ask after my spiritual health. This knocked me to my feet. Apparently he believed that if someone in his flock needed his attention they needed to contact him.
The pastor at my parent’s house, knowing I was in teacher’s college only an hour and a half away, would email me every month to check in. He knew I was attending church, he knew I was in a safe place, and he knew I was most likely coming back. My faith started to shake. I eventually revoked my membership in my home church and I’m happy I did. The new dictator is a tyrant and I couldn’t watch him destroy 60 years of love and faith any longer.
Due to working as a supply teacher and part time at Tim’s, Sunday’s were my only days off last year so I took them to stay at home. I stopped going to church last February because I was burning out. I still pray in times of struggles, but that’s not the relationship I know I should be having. Aside from my year in Korea and the year directly after it, I have never been a Bible reader. It comes and goes in waves with me I guess.
I try to rely on God for direction in life and comfort. But get frustrated when my mother tells me God wouldn’t want me to be here or make the choices I’m making – yet deep down inside I found that this was his answer to my questions. His way of pointing me into the direction he has set for my life. She tells me to pray and look for his guidance yet rejects the answers I believe I have received.
I see the hypocrisy in my friends, family, and those around me who claim to be Christians but who are clearly not living the lifestyle. Then my mind is thrown to “let those without sin cast the first stone” and “those in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks”. I know I don’t live the lifestyle as I should so how can I impose my ideals of a “Christian lifestyle” on other’s?
So here I am now – it’s been about a year since I’ve attended church. I am back in Korea but it’s not the same as before. I’ve lost that wanting for nourishment. I’m waiting for the moment when I’m hungry again. But the overfull, over-indulged, being sick feeling of just leaving the buffet is still there in the pit of my stomach. I have no desire to eat right now. I feel like I’ve made the wrong choice to continue eating and now I have to get it all out of my system – like only after a time of broth and saltines can I get back into eating properly.
Part of me is scared by that realization, and part of me kind of doesn’t really register it as a problem, which scares me even more. I don’t know where to go from here – to force myself to eat or let myself get hungry again. Just how far am I willing to travel without food?