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A God-Shaped Hole

My easel was rescued from the dumpster. I always wonder how it ended up there, since it was clearly loved by someone very much once. My favorite thing about it is this little white heart, which someone painted under the lower canvas shelf. You won't find it if you're not looking for it, and it feels like a reminder that sometimes you find love in places you don't expect to.

For most of my life, I have had a very difficult relationship with churches. The one I grew up in had some great people, but overall felt cold and wasn't somewhere I enjoyed being. One that I'd attended in college had been wonderful and a refuge, but it changed and eventually got so bad that I felt sick every time I went there, so I left. Even now, I still feel that decision saved my faith.

I often get annoyed that some people seem to believe God is only found inside church walls. At the same time, having that community and support is important, because all the anger and self isolation slowly starts to pull you apart. You don't necessarily notice it's happening, but it touches every part of your life. Over time, your soul slowly begins to wither. Even if you notice and part of you wants to go back, you get scared to. You lie to yourself and make up reasons why you can't. And the whole time, that part of you that's being eaten away keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Lately, my whole world has been falling apart. I finally spoke with a pastor for the first time in 5 years. I thought it would be weird and uncomfortable going back to a church, but after talking with him and attending a service, I suddenly realized how much I had missed it and how badly I needed to be there. It was like being home again after being lost for a long time, and I was met with a warmth and love I had forgotten existed.

Church won't solve all your problems, but if your spirit is sick, it makes them all so much worse. We all need people who will help and support us, and to be reminded that no matter what happens, we are loved unconditionally by something much bigger then ourselves, and that nothing in the world can change that. Only then can we truly love and care for those around us, and find healing.


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