These terms came to me when I was thinking of how much I don’t feel I fit into our church. But looking at the definitions put me in a tail spin. Lets’ look and see.
“Misfit, noun, a person whose behavior or attitude sets them apart from others in an uncomfortably conspicuous way.” (Oxford Dictionary)
I was quite surprised to find this word is actually a noun. I expected it to be an adjective. I also didn’t expect it to have anything to do with behavior or attitude. So I looked elsewhere.
I found that Merriam-Webster defines Misfit as something that fits badly or a person who is poorly adapted to a situation or environment.” This makes more sense.
“Mongrel, adjective, an individual resulting from the interbreeding of diverse breeds; one of unknown ancestry; a cross between types of persons.” (Merriam-Webster)
Again, I didn’t expect this word to be an adjective maybe because I expected the reference to be the person not their breeding. Let’s see what Oxford has to say.
This is odd, Oxford considers this word a noun and defined as a dog that is a mixture of different types. Well this has all been interesting. Maybe I should change the title?
So Misfits and Mongrels has evolved into something I didn’t expect. Maybe out of my own ignorance of the English language or just being misled by feelings and we all know that feelings can be deceiving. Let me explain.
I am the type of person who can, with little effort, be comfortable and adapt quickly to different situations and in different environments. I don’t mind opening doors to places I’ve never been and such. I see it as a chance to experience something new.
So for me to say I am uncomfortable in church is a huge deal. I have been going to church my whole life. As early as 1st grade I would walk two blocks while my mom stood on the front porch watching to make sure I made it there safe. I felt so grown up and was slightly disappointed to learn later in life that several of my mom’s friends were actually looking out for me.
After my divorce I moved back home to take care of my parents. At that time they were attending a Methodist church. I felt comfortable being with the people and all but uncomfortable because of the differences in beliefs. I enjoyed teaching children and participated in many events and happenings going on.
During this time I was in the process of finishing my Masters in Christian Counseling. One of my Theology classes had me write a paper on the church I was attending. In doing the exercises for writing the paper, I found a few sharp contrasting differences. This made me question attending this church. After several months of praying and studying deeper, I felt called to go back to the church I grew up in, still two blocks away.
So here I am in my childhood church again. At first it felt great. To be in a familiar place thinking the other people would be like me. This brings me back to the title again. It isn’t that the people are rude or anything. It isn’t like the place stinks or is set up awkward. It just doesn’t feel comfortable being there and I don’t know why.
Wait a minute, I just had a thought. When I went there by myself, I didn’t feel like this. Now that my parents and sister have decided to join me, wait, so it isn’t the church after all.
What does this mean?
I can be myself when I attend alone. I don’t have to be showy to anyone. I can smile when I feel like it or look like I’m about to cry and no one judges me there. I don’t have to act a certain way. Now I’m confused. What is it about being with my family that makes me feel uncomfortable in church? Is it that I know their secrets or they know mine? I don’t have any secrets and wouldn’t know where to look for theirs. So that isn’t it. Is it that I know my mom has anger issues or that my sister loves money? That can’t be it either. I’m grabbing for straws in an ocean of uncertainty.
I’m back to the what does this mean question. Good grief.