I knew we would run into people we knew from time to time and we have, but for the most part they have been very generic conversations albeit filled with christianese. I saw a woman I used to work with in my fundie church but with little maneuvering, we got off the subject of God and onto the subject of her family, which is what she really wanted to talk about anyway. Occasionally we run into our former pastor and have had to wax eloquently about our liturgical church (which was fairly easy to do when we were still attending, not so much now) and then there is the occasional "Hi, how are ya, nice to see ya, we'll talk later" conversations, which are the ones I love.
Now we've lost one of our favorite haunts because they've hired a kid from our fundie church. The first time we went in, it was just to grab something for supper and take it home, only to discover this kid at the cash register who asked Zach if he used to go to CLF. We looked at each other in puzzlement but then he told us who he was and...well, time certainly had passed since he was in middle school when we left there. Now he's a senior. His dad was one of the most obnoxious, bossiest and most heavy-handed men in that congregation. He was one of the leaders of Zach's Royal Rangers group (sort of like a pentecostal Boy Scouts troop). I never could get it through his head about Zach's Tourette's or his OCD and he made him eat beans (which makes Zach throw up) and then promised to punish him if he did throw up. This on a weekend outing. He thought I was "coddling" Zach and because my husband didn't attend with us, designated himself Zach's father figure at church.
Whew. I need to let the keyboard cool off a bit. It's getting inflamed.
Anyway, last night Zach and I went out to grab a bite because weekends are a bit stressful for us in spite of improved conditions at home. Improved doesn't always mean better. It just means better than. I digress. We went to Wendy's because we love the ambiance with carpeting that softens the sounds and nice booths and usually not terribly crowded. Except Caleb was there and full of questions for Zach about why he left the youth group and why we weren't at church anymore. He came out to the dining room to clean tables and talked to us while he did so. Zach was terribly uncomfortable and gave him some christianese answers because he didn't want to, as he put it, profane his beliefs with someone who was going to try to trash them. Caleb bought them and kept on about how God was going to use us where we were and how wonderful we were to listen to God (we told him God led us out of that church which at the time we really believed...now we believe it was the Goddess and that she was telling us to get the hell out of that bondage...right now!) He's going to bible college to be a youth pastor so he can fuck up the minds of vulnerable young kids at a time in the future. Probably just like his dad.
Anyway, I lied, too. Because I don't happen to believe that lying is wrong all the time. Sometimes it's a blessing. It's when you lie about someone and damage their reputation that it's terribly, terribly wrong. But we won't go into that right now. The keyboard is hot enough right now.
I lied because it was none of his business, because it was private and because I wanted to just sit and enjoy my meal. Not that I got to enjoy my meal. I didn't want to say anything to the manager, who Zach and I both know from having patronized the place for several years, because I don't work that way. I didn't want him to lose his job because of me. I doubt he will talk that way to strangers, but he felt he knew us and recognized us as fellow Christians. We did nothing to disabuse him of that notion for the above reasons and also because it wasn't the place.
So we're going to avoid our favorite haunt during the hours he might be working (he'll be in school during the day and in church on Sunday mornings, maybe youth group on Wednesday). Are we cowards? You betcha. It's not fear of what he might think. It's just that neither one of us wants to pretend anymore but also don't want to have to explain ourselves either. There are several at that church who do know the truth because they've friended me on facebook and I'm "out" there. Sort of. It's in my profile anyway. I don't talk about it but I do hint at it.
It's just as well, though, because we need to stop eating out anyway. Money and calories being the two biggest reasons why.
I know that it's a small world and that I'll continue to have encounters with people I used to know. Oddly, I dread meeting with people from our Episcopal church more than with the fundie one because it's so recent. I just don't intend to explain anything to them because, even though they're good people, this is none of their business and it's one of the things about Christianity that used to bug me so much: the assumption that we're all responsible for each other. Which really reads as I'm responsible for making sure you stay as faithful and true as I am but you keep the hell out of my business. Also, I need to know what you're doing so I can advise you on how to remain as Christian as I am.
Yep...still bitter. Not going away any time soon.
But this has hit home that while I am on a solitary path right now, I do need community that isn't religious in nature. I haven't know anything like that for over 22 years, since I was in the Navy. Ever since then, my whole life has revolved around church. I haven't had a single friend who wasn't connected to the church I was going to at the time and when we left that church, the friendships died, too. I honestly don't know how to make friends outside of church anymore. What organizations to join? We tried 4-H when I was homeschooling Zach because the homeschool group was so elitist and the kids shunned Zach (he came from California and had long hair) but everything we tried that we secular was as cold and elitist as the church groups were.
Small towns. I love them but you have to live here for 400 years before they accept you. Especially if you're in the middle of a minor bible belt.
Once I get the car situation settled again (we have to have two cars to make sure we have one running all the time) I'm thinking of maybe volunteering somewhere, like the humane society or the library. I'd prefer the one in the next town but I don't know if you can go outside your municipality to volunteer and I hate the library in our town. Won't use it.
I'll figure something out as long as it doesn't cost us extra money. We don't happen to have any of that.
Well, enough ranting. Time to fix supper and finish up my work so I can read or knit. I need incense and lit candles tonight with some peace from the corners. That will fix me up.