Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I have 3 children, the oldest lives in Tennessee with her husband and little boy. They were back about a month ago the finish up things with their home here that sold, so they won’t be back out till probably next spring. My youngest daughter and son live less than 10 miles from me - she has a small farm and my son lives with her, helping with things there. He is down here at least once a week to visit and help with things here.
Up until 3 1/2 years ago I was part of an Old Order horse and buggy church (not Amish, but very similar). When I left, I was shunned (I was told I would not be) - those in the church have very limited contact with me, including my youngest daughter. My son is not a member but attends meetings and follows their teaching. Not being a member though, the church can not force him to shun me.
Even though my daughter is less than 10 miles away, she seldom will come by. She calls only when there is something she needs or wants from me. If I call she will not talk to me, unless she has too. Whenever I stop by to pick up my son there is very limited conversation with her - she is “busy” and doesn’t have time to visit. Most times I don’t even see her. I can count only about 6 times in the last 3 1/2 years when she has eaten a meal with me. She has even delayed dishing up a meal, so that she doesn’t risk having me stay. She will not ride in any vehicle, for any reason, if I am driving; but she has no trouble asking me to pick things up in town. Basically she (and the rest of the church) feels that because I left the church, I am damned and going to hell.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. My son is coming down in the afternoon sometime for dinner, my daughter declined to accept my invitation. When I was talking to him this evening he said his sister told him I could come up Saturday - they were going to have a big dinner then. Turns out that they are planning on having a work day to put up a shop for my son - so most of them from the church will be there. I feel rather like a sheep walking into a den of wolves. If I go I will get a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle comments about making my life right, getting right with the Lord, making things right with the church, etc. It’s not going to be a relaxing day by any means. Yet if I don’t go, I will be slammed for that choice as well.
My other concern is Covid-19. Numbers around here are spiking like crazy. I try to be very careful - limiting trips to town, going only where I have to and limiting how long I am in any one place. I haven’t gone to church since March (I catch the online service instead) and try to limit contact with others in general. I know my daughter isn’t as careful, nor are most of the others in the church. I probably shouldn’t have as much contact with my son as I do, except my mother-heart won’t let me say no when I know he needs help (same goes with my daughter) or when he asks if he can come down to visit.