I’ve been going to church every week for the first time in many years. There was a period of time where I could hardly stomach anything Christian. Right around the end of college. Church, then, was out of the question. Why would I give up one of my few free days to go somewhere I didn’t want to be? Somewhere that taught things I didn’t agree with?
The answer was obvious: I wouldn’t. And I didn’t.
However, even though the Church has many faults, one thing it does well is providing a safe and caring environment in a cold, distrustful world.
While I am here in Japan for three months, an ocean away from all friends and family, I thought finding a church would be a great way to quickly build a safety net and give me people to hang out with. (It has been good for other things as well, such as learning about God etc, but I admit that was the main draw.) Now, three or four weeks in, going to the same church, I find it has a grounding effect as well.
Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Some people are too grounded and they have trouble focusing on things outside of this current world.
Other people, like myself, aren’t grounded enough. Without an anchor keeping us tethered to the ground, we float away into a void where nothing matters but the spiritual and nothing has context. Without an anchor, it’s extremely hard to care about anything that’s going on on earth. It breeds apathy, boredom, dissociation, isolation, and sometimes depression.
Church is the remedy for that, no matter what “church” means for you. The act of meeting with other people, other physical, living people, who are interested in the same thing as you is important. Where you study God together, but then eat and chat together as well. Reminding you that, yes, the spiritual realm is important, but so is the physical realm.
I had never realized the importance of grounding yourself in this manner. But now that I have, I wonder how I ever managed without it. I wonder how I didn’t just blow away altogether.