I am single. I live by myself. Church is one of the things that really helps me when I’m struggling or just in general. However, my family, due to one reason or another (parents, sister, niece, brother and his family) say that if I go to church, I can’t see them inside. I totally understand. My church met outside for about a month, but then decided to move indoors. I know they don’t want to up their covid risk and I don’t want to up their risk either by the activities I choose to do. However, it started out with singing in church that was their problem. Then it was people are gathered inside. I ALWAYS distance myself as much as possible from others when I’ve been there. But that’s not good enough for my family. I understand there is more of a risk with singing, but I decided for myself that I was willing to risk it because not going to church wasn’t an option. (Until now, that is). Now it’s not just service. There are about eight to ten people who go to bible study. Now my parents have an issue with that, as well, because cases are rising. I haven’t gone to church the past two Sundays, I skipped bible study at my church last night. I skipped my friends bible study that was meeting in her house (she didn’t want to move it outside after I asked). The more and more I skip church and these opportunities to fellowship, the more and more it is taking a toll on my spiritual and even more so mental well being. However, at least for now, I’ve decided not going to these things is worth not having to worry about if or when I can see my family. It’s getting SO, SO hard though. It’s like a kid who needs a nap and the more time that passes the crankier they get. That’s how I feel with each passing week that I don’t go to church. I might cave and go to church Sunday. I do wish they met outside still. But leadership decided not to. (Come fall they’d have to move inside anyways cause of the weather). I was upset when I didn’t go to church for two weeks so I could go up to the lake with my parents. Then my mom put a one night / two day limit on me staying. It’s like I am giving up all these things that I need for my well being, only to get two days up north??? I had to come home Monday night. Bible study was Tuesday night. But because I wanted to make sure I was “okay” to be around family, I didn’t go. I just sat at home, not up at the lake with my family (cause they only wanted me up there a couple of days) nor at Bible study! I already was struggling with being single before covid. Now it’s just worse with having to limit being by people. Especially my church family. I’m screwed if I do and screwed if I don’t. The real kicker is my family hasn’t said a word about me working summer school. There I sometimes got coughed/sneezed on by the kids. I had to sit right next to them in order to help with school work/behavior issues. No word about that from my parents. That was totally fine. But somehow church is the demon in all of this. I’m so over this covid stuff. I hate having to choose between my family and my church.
This is a tough time for fellowship. Have you looked into online church resources? I imagine there must be groups offering bible study through Zoom or similar. It sounds like your family is moving the goalposts. Have they expressed dislike for you going to church prior to Covid? It might be time for a frank discussion about what exactly it is that they are against.
I totally get how you’re feeling, I’m super over this COVID stuff too. You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place with no way up, down, or out, and that’s always a frustrating position to find yourself in. It might help both you and your parents if you’re both able to have a respectful discussion about why they’re against church but not school, and also maybe chat about some set (rather than variable and unpredictable) boundaries.
They are afraid of getting covid. That is their reasoning. I understand and respect their boundaries. It’s just really hard on me having to make tough decisions.
My church does have online services. But I live alone. Some days I don’t interact with anyone if a friend can’t hang out. I need in person interaction for my well being. It’s essential. Church is essential for me. In person fellowship with other believes in essential for me. In doing these things I make sure to keep at least 6 feet distance, meet people outside if possible. (As you can see sometimes this isn’t possible). Church is as essential as going to work for me. I will do it in the safest way possible, as mentioned in my previous sentence. But there needs to be a balance between safety, family, and my well being. Trying to find the balance with wanting both church and my family is proving to be quite the challenge. I’ve tried the trying to have time with family approach and it isn’t working. If I go the opposite direction with trying to have church, that isn’t going to work either. Even if I switch what I do every couple weeks or so, so one week I can be with family, the next I can have church. I’m still going to feel like I don’t have balance. Corporate worship, in person, is something that really grounds me.
Hey Nomadic - I completely understand how you could feel isolated and singled out in more ways than one by all of this. It sounds like your family doesn’t understand the safety measures you are taking and those that are in place at your church either… I get the feelings of loneliness - just COVID in general has messed up so much of everyone’s social life… As Fi and Bite have both said, it sounds a lot like your family just doesn’t want to fully express what exactly they oppose. Being unsure of your family dynamic, I would say maybe just ask them to explain a bit better why they are drawing such odd lines. Everyone wants to be safe and protect themselves and each other right now. Is there someone in your family who is immuno-compromised? I hate to see you having to choose between community and family, it shouldn’t come down to that, and it just sucks that it basically has for you and others. Know we’re here to listen and can definitely understand your frustration with EVERYTHING COVID RIGHT NOW!
I asked if it would make a difference if I wore a mask (well, now everyone in the state is supposed to - though my church has said they aren’t enforcing it) and sat in the back of the church away from everyone. They didn’t budge. Because the singing particles can travel. Which is funny, cause at least at church I can distance myself from people and it might take time for particles to reach me in the back. Whereas at work, if a kid coughs on me from 1 or 2 feet away, I’m kinda right in the respiratory particles right after they cough! Going to work in the fall with covid being a thing is probably going to be stressful, at least at first. Church on the weekends is something that could help me stay grounded in the middle of that. But, alas, church is apparently worse than school and I shouldn’t go! At least according to my family.
It really sucks that your family is seeming to draw the line at church with no other logic applied!! I am always saddened when anyone bashes my own passions.
Also, just wanted you to know A) it was awesome to see you last night in chat, and B) you made everyone else make popcorn for themselves!! LOL