Sometimes I wonder if the longing for something that looks like "church" isn't sort of the same longing that we homeschooling parents sometimes have for those "school" type things. I know that I look back and think of the good times I had at school, and I get all nostalgic, and I wonder if I'm cheating Mane out of something, some experience she isn't getting to have. Then I remember that I'm homeschooling to give her a different kind of experience, one that I hope will be equally positive (or more) and that she'll have plenty of nostalgia about someday. It just won't be the same nostalgia I feel for my school days.
I know I feel that same nostalgia about church. I remember the Bible verses and the Sunday School songs and the people who loved me. Then I want those things for Mane, and I wonder why we aren't going to church. It could be, though, that it's just the same as homeschooling. Mane isn't having the same experiences I had. She's having different ones. Maybe she's having some better ones. And, hopefully, she'll be able to look back fondly someday on the things we did together as a family, the people we met along the way on this faith journey, and the experiences we had.
It's a fine line, a balancing act, a bit of a blur to distinguish: What am I wanting because I really need it, and what am I wanting just for the familiarity and safety. How do I trust my intuition when my intuition is so connected to my emotion? How do I trust my own decisions when they fall so outside the mainstream?
Still no answers. But this is what came to me after Part 2. And, I realize that Part 2 sounds a bit too much like an easy answer following Part 1. I was just so amazed at how miraculously that prayer book seemed to have dropped into our laps when we needed it the most. It seemed, in some ways, a confirmation that we could really do some of this at home, that we don't need a church building and a church service to develop a practice of prayer, even some liturgy and tradition. It seems like that's something we could all learn, whether we attend church or not. For us, it filled a desperate need.