Nerd Nite or Church

This has been a weird weekend. I did not go to church this morning, which for me is not normal. Now, for the past five weeks I of course haven’t been to my own church, but I always go to church, even when I’m on vacation or medical leave. But today, because of various reasons involving my wife’s schedule and my two-year-old son, I stayed home. On the other hand, I went out late last evening, which is also unusual for me on a Saturday night. My most excellent friend (and Pinewood-Men co-creator) Pete and I attended the first Nerd Nite Bethlehem. It was a fun evening at SteelStacks, described kind of like a low-key “nerdy” Ted Talk. We heard three speakers talk in a very enthusiastic and entertaining way about their nerdy loves, like television piracy and AI comedy robots. I’m glad I went, and from a depression standpoint, it was good to get out and do something. I have been more social lately than I’d been in months, and it’s probably a good thing.

But I can’t shake this feeling of guilt. I gathered with a hundred or so people this weekend, but not for the reason I usually do. I listened to people up front singing praises, and I felt a great level of affinity with them, but the praises they sang were not directed to the place my praises usually are on the weekend. It just feels wrong, like I didn’t do enough. I could have worked out going to church. I could have found a church with a Saturday service last evening. I could have taken my son with me to church somewhere this morning. But I didn’t. I took the path of least resistance. I was out late last night, and I even slept in. It just didn’t feel right. It still doesn’t feel right.

Part of me knows that it’s okay. That it’s okay to miss church once in a while. That it’s okay especially when the reason has to do with making life a little easier on my family. Part of me knows it’s okay to do something fun, and to spend some time with a good friend. And I don’t believe that God is condemning me for this. But I’m disappointed in myself right now. I don’t like this feeling. And honestly, it feels bigger than this weekend. I feel like I’m not doing the right thing left and right right now. Like I’m just being self-absorbed and lazy. Like I’m just taking the path of least resistance and coasting. Like I’m not accomplishing anything.

I don’t like this feeling. But I think it’s the voice in my head, the voice who has told me for years and years, “You should have known better.” The voice who has told me for years and years, “You are a failure.” Hello, voice. Welcome back. “I never left,” he says. Yes, I know. But I have my daughter’s birthday party this afternoon, voice. So how about you shut up for a while, and let me be a good father.

Sigh. This is my life. It will be a good afternoon. My job is to wrangle the toddler while my daughter and her friends have fun. It will be good. And I’ll deal more with that stupid voice later. But for now, I will forgive myself for any mistakes I’ve made this weekend, and I will just do my best the rest of the day. That’s all I’ve got, when it comes down to it, isn’t it?

5 thoughts on “Nerd Nite or Church

  1. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and what you are doing right now is refilling your cup. As someone who has been wringing your cup dry for a long time, it’s unnatural for you to allow some liquid to settle in the bottom without immediately pouring it out for others. It will take time to learn how to do for yourself what you have always instinctively done for others, but it’s an important lesson.

    As for skipping church, remember that God doesn’t live in a building or a ritual. He’s everywhere. Take a moment while you’re playing with your son today, and “go to church.” Give thanks, hum your favorite hymn, or repeat your favorite prayer. Notice how God lives in your child, and praise your child.

    Outside of Christmas Eve (and even that has been spotty in recent years), I haven’t attended a regular church service since college. It was a drastic change for me, but I had my reasons for avoiding it. Yes, it feels lazy, but I can get the same feeling walking around my parents’ back yard and breathing in fresh air while giving up a prayer of thanks as I can in a proper worship service. I still feel the need for a “top up” worship every now and then (Christmas Eve fulfills that nicely while being scheduled at a better time for me, physically), but I think God is okay with my alternative forms of worship and spreading His ideals. I work to love others to the best of my ability, I donate to charities, and I help those in need. In some ways, going it alone is more work, because there is no framework to rely on, but my life lost all framework a long time ago, so it works best for me.

    Basically, I’m saying that you’re doing nothing wrong, and are actually doing everything right. You’re breaking out of the lines that depression has drawn around your life and looking for a better way. It’s hard work, but you’re doing it, and I’m proud of you. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this. Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree about the importance, and the uniqueness, of weekly Sunday communal worship. (But that’s a discussion for another day!) However, I really appreciate your words, especially the part about having an empty cup. I just spent this morning reading a book about the Sabbath, and the same sort of ideas were there. I also like the idea of “breaking out of the lines drawn around my life.” That’s a beautiful image. Thanks for that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Remember, even the Dude took time off to party. Does the water into wine thing so everyone can have fun. It’s just another way to celebrate and give thanks. You inspire me. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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