(This originally appeared on my Instagram and Facebook this past Saturday. I’m republishing it here, and sharing with you all, because it really struck a chord with people, and figured some of you might be able to relate as well)
“I’m not needed.”
Oh. There it is.
That’s the grief spot. There’s the sadness.
I wondered if they’d show up this weekend.
It’s my first Easter weekend in two decades in which I’m not pastoring somewhere.
In other words,
In which I’m not needed.
No music to arrange. No sets to design. No sermons to write. No services to produce. No visitors to greet. No hugs or smiles to throw around like free candy.
For twenty years I’ve been needed — most of those, significantly needed — and now..
To be fair, I’ve been looking forward to this weekend. Looking forward to NOT having to do the whole Easter Weekend thing for the first time in a very long time. Even Especially looking forward to watching round four of the Masters start to finish.
And all of that is still true.
But I wondered…
I wondered if it would hit me that this is my first Easter sans Pastoring.
It’s also my first Easter sans Family.
Which—to be honest—might be where MOST of today’s feels are coming from.
I dropped the kids off back at their house after a really wonderful (and ALMOST normal-feeling) overnight stay at my place. I loved every second of it.
Then I dropped them off, watched them walk in the house, smiled as they thanked me for the hospitality and said it was fun…
Then I sobbed the whole drive home.
It’s been 8 months since I moved out.
8 months since I was told I wasn’t needed or wanted as a husband anymore.
8 months for the kids to adjust to a new reality.
And look, I KNOW they still “need their dad.” I’m not total despair over here. And I’m also trying to remember what my therapist tells me: teenagers have different needs from their parents than when they’re young.
This whole “not feeling needed” vibe is strong right now.
No church to need me.
No staff to need me.
No volunteers or excited congregants to need me.
No spouse to need me.
No kids to need me…
So here I sit.
On Holy Saturday.
In my feels.
And before you respond with your sincere and lovely comments about how “you ARE needed, Colby!” and all that, please know that I know that. On one level I KNOW that. I promise.
But for now, I’m just naming grief’s residual presence. ❤️ & 💔
Thanks for sharing. I've definitely felt the "I'm not needed" feels at different times in my life. After my divorce. After leaving a church where I served faithfully. After my kids all grew up. After my parents died. Sending big hugs to you, Colby.
Thanks for sharing, Colby. My own journey into the abyss occurred not so much when I stopped being a pastor (like you say, that was kind of a relief), but when my daughter, the light of my life, went down the rabbit hole of drugs. She’s not using anymore, but the damage it inflicted left her non-functional, probably for life. How many ways can you blame yourself? Too many to imagine, I can tell you. Now I’m just a 70-year old working stiff with three college degrees, including a Ph.D. They’re just old pieces of paper to me anymore. Strangely, I find some comfort in not mattering anymore. Just a bit of stardust floating around. I got so tired of being the “sage on the stage.” Not that I don’t matter. I have good, supportive friends. I laugh a lot. But the pain never goes away, and it’s never going to go away. But I’ve become OK with that. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Many others have been down this road before with far fewer emotional tools than I have. If I can make it, and I can and will, it’s a calling. Jesus cry on the cross, “My God, my God . . .” was not a rhetorical question. We walk with him.