Church Drama

Memory Jump Scare

Photo by La-Rel Easter on Unsplash

Here is a weird memory that just popped into my head. I was thinking about the time I was fired from working in a church. (I’ve been fired two times in my life. Both times the overarching story was “we don’t have the money to pay you.” Both times it felt a lot more personal than that.

This particular time I was working in Christian Education in a church and I was about seven months pregnant with my first child who had not made the pregnancy easy for me. The doctors had already told us that the kid would make an early entrance and likely end up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for a bit — it was “a high risk pregnancy.”

The leaders of the church didn’t let that stop them. It also did not stop them from firing my husband (who was also a full-time employee) at the same time. We had purchased our first home — oh my goodness, I loved that house! — and we were expecting our first child. And, poof! It was gone.

It wasn’t really “poof!” There was A LOT that led up to it. We probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place. There is a whole host of stories that go along with this one. Maybe they will reveal themselves through this year too. Today I’ll focus on the one that just jump-scared me. It came out of nowhere, this memory literally popped into my head as if a ghoul jumping out of a dark corner in a Haunted House. Lots of cobwebs in there!

I sat at a table with Hubby while all the elders looked at us. They were informing us that it was indeed true. Our time with them had come to an end. They said it was because of money. I should have let it go at that because I knew it wasn’t because of money. But, I sometimes speak when I should be silent. Instead of smiling and nodding with the tears in my eyes, I said to the group,

“This is a church. If you want us gone, I can understand that. But, at least tell the truth about why. We all know that money is not the issue. Let’s be honest with each other.”

I don’t remember a lot of what came after that, but I know one elder actually said,

“We need someone to work with our kids who will get down in the floor and play with them.”

This is the memory that just spooked me.

“We need someone to work with our kids who will get down in the floor and play with them.”

Now, forget all about teaching their kids about Jesus and about loving neighbor and all the rest of it. I had just walked down one hallway, through their enormous sanctuary, and down another hallway to come into this meeting from my office. In that office, I had JUST stood up from sitting in the floor playing with some of their kids. Well, not THEIR kids exactly. Those doing the speaking were too old to have kids in the programs for which I was responsible. Some of the elders had kids, but they were mostly silent. The point is that I had literally just come from playing IN THE FLOOR with some kids of the church. I had toys and books and crayons IN MY OFFICE because I loved so much sitting in the floor and playing with those children.

I don’t know why this one comment just floated back to the surface. That was almost 20 years ago. I don’t know why I wanted to write it down either. Like Matthew McConaughey, maybe I write things down so I can forget. Maybe I’m just thinking a lot these days about how different our perceptions are of what is around us.

That was not the only day I had been down in the floor — over seven months pregnant and down in the floor playing with children in the church’s classrooms, nursery, offices. I wonder why some folks sitting around that table could honestly believe that I had not done that. Maybe they weren’t being honest. I have no way of knowing if they believed what they were saying. It is hard for me to imagine that there are people who knowingly lie straight in the face of others. If I’m dishonest with you, then you can be fairly certain that I’m being dishonest with myself too.

I know there were lots of things and people that made that particular working relationship go bad. Hubby and I accept some responsibility for allowing ourselves to get caught up in a situation where we did not belong. Talk about CHURCH DRAMA!

But, I can say with certainty, those kids knew I loved them. They knew I would drop to the floor and play with them regardless of who else was in the room. They are grown now. Many of them married. I wasn’t with them very long in the grand scheme of things, so they don’t likely remember me. I will always remember them.

Maybe that is why this memory popped up. It is a reminder of the best parts of a difficult situation — beautiful children of God unencumbered by the politics of adulthood. If we are willing to see them, they are always there.

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In no particular order: Writer, pastor, Mama Bear, LGBTQ+ ally, wife, preacher, watcher of TV, seeker, mystic want-to-be

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T. H. McClung, she/her(s)

T. H. McClung, she/her(s)

In no particular order: Writer, pastor, Mama Bear, LGBTQ+ ally, wife, preacher, watcher of TV, seeker, mystic want-to-be

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