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Posted by sharon on January 10, 1998 at 00:10:16:

There is a major stumbling block - a serious head injury that prevents me from retaining short term memory. Consequently, though I am told I have reached a place of healing and forgiveness, I don't remember it, all I feel and remember is the hurt - and the rejection - both of which i still feel.

My church has just been constructed - I am in a wheelchair and had served at the altar in our old building. I was told the new building would be completely accessible - well it is - except for the altar.

My most valuable gift of service to my church and to my God has been taken away from me and everytime I see the stairs leading to where I should be serving, I feel a wall between myself and my ability to worship. I have asked for an apology from my pastor - an apology that no one thought of the handicapped when the altar area was designed.

I have asked for an acknowledgement that the steps are an outward sign that the handicapped are not welcome behind the altar - even if the clergy didn't intend it to send that message. I am told that such acknowledgements and apologies have been made.

All I know is that I still feel completely bound up in anger - I am newly disabled with a difficult time accepting the fact that hiking, swimming, biking, etc., are no longer options. I thought I had come to accept my physical limitations through a revelation by God through the words of Mary "for the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is His name." That's true, God has done great things for me, and my disease is neither his fault nor his desire.

I have very few places where I feel at ease with myself and my health, and up until the new church, church was one of those places.

Church, the act of worship in community, is a central part of my life. Prayer, including corporate prayer, is the essence of my soul and the first road to communion with the Holy Spirit.

Yet, I go to church and a barrier is raised and I neither worship nor pray - I just go through the motions. I'm tired of it. Forgiveness has to be accomplished and I don't know anymore by whom or how.

I am sure I have tried to forgive plenty of times - I just don't remember.

It's so frustrating and I don't know what the answer is.

I know what the answer is not: it is not to leave my church, it is not to leave my spiritual side behind, it is not to reject my pastor and spiritual director, above all, it is not to reject God.

So, you tell me - what do i do now?

(now i have to hope i remember enough of this ranting to check back sometime to see if an answer has been posted)

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