Crying in My Minivan


Why do I suddenly find myself crying on the way home from dropping the kids at school?

It is not even 8 am.

I am crying because I just named something that I am grieving that I didn’t even realize I was grieving. It may sound simple, but for me, it feels deep and profound and achy. I am overcome with sorrow at the brokenness of the church all around us. Why do I feel so grieved? Because I truly love the church.

Let me backup a little. You may know that our lively clan of five has moved three times back and forth across the country in the last two years. You may know that these transitions have prompted a lot of soul searching and accompanying spiritual development for me. Parts of it unfolded and blossomed like a flower, like a gift, but much of it was a painful and taxing struggle deep in my soul. I feel like I have glimpsed an understanding of the mystic phrase, the “dark night of the soul.” I look at things a bit differently now and I am grateful for that.

So this new grief that took me a bit by surprise, this sorrow for the collective Christian church, it just surfaced this morning in my minivan. It just popped up from the underwaters of my unconscious to bob along on the conscious surface, offering itself to be named. For as we process our experiences with language we help our brains apply meaning to them. Before the naming of this grief could even travel from brain to tongue, my body’s soothing release of tears came. I didn’t even need to voice the words. And here I am, crying in my minivan. Knowing this to be true. Our bodies really are magnificent creations.

Grief is more common than we like to admit. Losses abound: losses of loved ones, roles, dreams, expectations, friendships, health, capacities. But grieving the state of the church? Is that weird? Well, whether weird or not. It is there. And it simply is, without requiring a category or judgment. There is no rash reaction required or resolution to be made today. I need simply give this feeling of grief dignity by being with it, allowing it to be felt.

This post is not a condemnation of any of the specific churches we have attended since our recent move. It is more about seeing the very human flaws in something so sacred to me with new eyes that didn’t see this way before. Being a newcomer just gives you a different perspective, I guess. I still love the church. I still think it is good. But I think I will feel sad and hurt for a while, and with good reason.

After all, Jesus was no stranger to weeping (Luke 19:41).

jess andrews