Last October, when “Pink Sunday” was announced at our new-ish church, I picked up my purse, got up, & left the building. Didn’t return for 6 or more weeks, & even then, I was back to my old irritable, cynical self. I felt betrayed on some irrational level — in my mind, this church that we had chosen should be the one place that’s above bandwagon-jumping. And now they had gone & disillusioned me, just like I knew they would because everything religion-related is full of it, blahblahblah. I didn’t reengage until we found “The Heretics” in January — & it was like, at risk of sounding cornball, coming home.
Sidenote: Last Saturday, we attended our first “Sunday School Social.” Bobby & I walked up, a 6pk of Sweetwater 420 in one hand & a bottle of wine in the other. It struck us as we were about halfway up the driveway that it could be potentially embarrassing if we’re the only ones that show up at this Baptist gathering toting alcoholic beverages. I should have known the Heretics wouldn’t let me down… when the door opened, my worries were washed away by the wine & beer that was flowing like a river. It was the first evening I’ve ever spent in a houseful of people old enough to be my parents & grandparents, yet felt completely accepted. It was also the first gathering where you could watch college football, talk about your religious baggage, & do yoga all in the same vicinity. Oh, & we were given yard signs for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate as a parting gift, kind of like a party favor for opinionated, sassy people. Funny stuff.
Anyway, back to my original topic: Throughout this year, I’ve intermittently thought about the fact that the church pinkwagon-jumped, knowing that it would happen again if I didn’t go talk to someone, but just not wanting to dig back into the issue until I absolutely was forced to. So I put it off, & now October is here, & “Pink Sunday” is this coming weekend, Oct 24th. I’m thoroughly irritated (of course), but unlike last year, I don’t feel justified in an angry 6-week hiatus to protest. I KNEW this was coming & I didn’t stop it. I know the leaders at the church well enough to know that if they’re being thoughtless, it’s because they haven’t been presented with another option. This is the first church I’ve found where it’s not about conforming & groupthink, but rather mindfulness & inclusiveness. So it’s sort of my fault that they’re hopping on the pinkwagon this Sunday. I’m determined to have the conversation before October 2011.
In the meanwhile, however, Bobby & I had decided to go to the Heretics this coming Sunday morning, then skip “big church.” Bobby has said several times that “If you wanna skip big church, that’s ok with me.” Translation: I want to go to our group & then leave. Up until this point, I’ve insisted we go to both… although I understand why he feels that “big church” is dispensable, I don’t want to follow him down that path because once I have issues, I can’t unhave them. I get fixated & start feeling dissatisfied, & in this particular case, I want to guard against that. I WANT to glean something from big church. I WANT to feel like I’m part of a community, at least for an hour on Sunday morning. I WANT to feel settled & reset for the week when I come out. I think I need that more than Bobby does, personally & spiritually.
Then, this week, Bobby was asked to give his testimony about what the church means to us/him in “big church” this Sunday. WHAAAATT?! Ok, this is so far out of the box for us, it’s actually kind of comical. And it’s weirdly coincidental that it’s all lining up this way… a few weeks ago, Bobby was asked to chair the marketing committee for a fundraising campaign (the church is trying to become debt-free). Meanwhile, I’ve got issues with “Pink Sunday,” which the committee knows nothing about. So the committee asks Bobby to speak about the fundraising campaign on (of ALL the Sundays they could have chosen) “Pink Sunday,” thus eliminating the skipping of “big church” as an option for me because, of course, I have to support my husband.
Bobby thinks it’s not a coincidence. He thinks that this lined up exactly the way it was supposed to. You see, in September 2006, Bobby & I “just happened” to move back home only 3 months before Mama was rediagnosed. We thought we were moving back to be closer to family & to become debt-free…. little did we know what would happen 3 months later. We continued paying off our debt while fighting Mama’s breast cancer — our finances were the only thing gave me a sense of control in a world that was spinning wildly off its axis. Then, in September 2007, exactly one year after we moved back home, Mama died. Because of her death, we found this church. I don’t even pretend to myself that I would be a member of this or any Baptist church if Mama was still alive. I’m a different person than I would have been without breast cancer. And now, on “Pink Sunday,” which is supposed to be in honor/memory of loved ones with breast cancer, Bobby has been asked to speak about what the church means to him/us.
I’ve told Bobby that I don’t want to see his notes beforehand, & that he has permission to be as honest as he wants. I really have no idea what to expect from this Sunday. I’m nervous at the thought of all those people knowing more about me than what I look like & that my husband & I sit on the left side, 3/4’s back, next to the aisle. I wonder if I’ll want to sprint away as soon as the service is over because I’ll feel ickily vulnerable. I DO know, however, that I’m wearing black. Not pink.