After Mom started preaching, pretty soon she decided that I was too fragile and unstable for public school, and that all the problems I was having were due to the pressures of first and second grade. So, she decided that I would be homeschooled. I didn’t want this, I begged and pleaded with her to let me stay with my friends, but to no avail. School was the only ‘normal’ thing in my life, and I wanted it to continue even though our way of dressing made it difficult. But, second grade was as far as I got to go in public school, I began homeschooling in third grade.
The first few years of homeschooling were pretty uneventful. Then, something strange happened. One Sunday morning, my parents announced that Dad was going to church with us. I was so excited, if Dad would just ‘get in’, I figured we could be happy. ‘Normal’. Dad went to church with us regularly for a few months, even going up and praying a few times. All the church people were very welcoming to him, even ones that he’d met in the past and been rude to. Things were going great.
For some reason I didn’t understand, soon after Dad started going to church him and Mom told us that Dad was going to go live somewhere else for awhile. To me and my sister, this was completely unexpected. What was even more unexpected was the reaction of our church. I was around 7, but adults in the church felt free to ask me questions that they would never have asked my Mom. Every service, people would catch me without Mom around and start asking questions. “Where’s your Dad? Why isn’t he coming to church anymore? Does he still live with you? Do you get to see him? Are your parents divorcing?” These questions were coming from adults, not adolescents. Sunday School teachers, song leaders, youth pastors… no matter what their position in the church, they didn’t seem to care what kind of pain and embarrassment they brought on a little child whose home had been ripped apart, they were only concerned with their blood lust for juicy gossip.
This was my first experience with emotional pain from outside the church being made worse by those in it. It would not be the last.