I remember going to an open lounge that was for the youth. We went because my sisters and I were youth ‘leaders’ or helpers, because it was never official. My sister and I and our friend J, walked into the home group- it was held at a house- and I felt it. I felt myself put my guard up because walking into that room felt like walking onto a battleground. You’d better go and get your armour. I was suited up. It wouldn’t be the first time. I know the situations I’ve been in with these people, and most of the time, battle gear was required.
It was real. They had a nice little club, and we were not invited.
Coming to that realisation was hard, but it was what was understood from these recurring experiences. I knew it. We were under the impression that we were there as non-leaders, just there to learn from each other… apparently that wasn’t the case. The next week one of the girls called my sister and informed her that, well, we wouldn’t be welcome at this open lounge. I got home and she told me about it. It felt like, I don’t even know. We should’ve known better. I should’ve known better than to join along. We’d been part of that church for over 6 years, and this was how these people behaved. This is exactly what I’d known them to be like. It hurt. It hurt incredibly. They’d always rejected us, whether knowingly or unknowingly. But this time, they were actually saying it. And it hurt. I cried. It was like a culmination of all the times they’d left us out of events, parties, and all that was fine. But this, this wasn’t fine.
This was like a dagger right into the heart. We’d worked so hard to be part of the yoith group, to see it grow, and now we were being told by these legitimate people who were recognised by the leadership, these favourite sons and daughters of the house, that there was no room for us.
The writing was on the wall. Clear as daylight, as if it hadn’t been clear before. They didn’t want us there. They never had.
There was no room for us. None at all.
I’ll be honest and say this was one of the experiences that finally pushed me over the edge of leaving this particular local body. It was one of the saddest experiences and it robbed me and my sisters of so much. But if I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t stay as long as I did. I wouldn’t fight so hard for a space in a place that felt like it didn’t want me. I would talk to the people involved and tell them that their actions weren’t okay. This ‘us and them’ clique of theirs, whether intentional or not, was not okay.
It’s taken me a long time to actually write, and document this experience. But I’ll start now, I think.
Grace and peace.