This is a church I try to avoid visiting at all costs. It’s just too painful! It isn’t far from where I live and I’ve known the people there for a long time, but it just makes me so sad when I go there. The building looks like it’s about to collapse at any minute. When you go into the sanctuary the building is leaning so far to the left that it makes you dizzy. It hasn’t seen a fresh coat of paint in decades. Everything looks worn out and run down. I’m sure there are plenty of similar looking churches somewhere out there, although I don’t ever recall seeing one quite this bad, at least not here in Japan. But still, you might think I’m being overly sensitive; which I probably am. Here’s the thing… my dad built that church! He actually built it with his own hands and the help of a few other carpenters. He poured his life into getting that church up and running and there was a time when it was a pretty vibrant community. I have countless old photos of his from those days showing the place filled with people who look happy. And then there is the matter of timing. You see, this wan’t the only thing my dad was building those days. Our family was also the focus of much of my parents’ attention at the time. I’m the last of three kids with two older sisters and from what I can gather it was a pretty happy day when my parents and sisters welcomed me into the family. That was in June. And then almost exactly three months later the new church building was completed and a dedication service was held. So in some ways my life and that of this rundown church building sort of coincide, making it all the more painful to see it in the present condition.
I find it hard to not feel resentment toward those who fail to take care of this place, and perhaps the last straw for me this time was seeing that the primary symbol of the church, the cross right above the front door, is completely rotting away. I wish I could come up with some positive twist on this all but I’m drawing a blank.