I know it doesn't work, and still I try again. I try harder. I try to look as though I am trying less but am actually trying my hardest yet. Only the truly brave set aside their trying tools and just sit beside the miserable. They face misery in full awareness that it can't be fixed.
There are times when I am in church that this fix-it mentality chases me through the songs, the sermon, and out the door. I'm told that I am a person in need of fixing and this church has the tools to get it done. The twisted truth drives me from my seat to cower in the corner, afraid of the hammers and chisels and chainsaws.
I went to a new church on Sunday, a church recommended to me by a sixty year-old man. He said it was the best church to which he ever belonged. No one has ever said that about a church to me before, but it still took me two months of internal conversation to believe him enough to visit the church. As I drove there on Sunday morning, I gripped the steering wheel in hopes to vicariously control the weaving and wandering thoughts in my mind. I prayed that this church wouldn't try to fix me.
It's hard to know from a single worship service if a church is going to be home or if it is just someone else's home that you will visit from time to time. Even in my hesitation to make any sort of commitment, I heard something in the pastor's words that pulled my wandering thoughts into focus.
I am not the Good Shepherd. I am a sheep, just like you. At times, I am shepherd-like, but likeness is not the Good Shepherd. I am not the Good Shepherd.At the end of worship, after the benediction, he stepped out of the aisle into the pews with everyone else, singing, calling for all good Christian friends to rejoice and sing with him, with us. He didn't return to the aisle until the cross and the lector had passed. He was a sheep just like the rest of us. He has set aside his trying tools and has joined the miserable.
His resignation is not without hope. His resignation is a nod to the power of the true Good Shepherd. The one who has the tools, the time, and the ability to love without end. His resignation is a shepherd-like attitude that I could get behind.