Dear Amy: I was a stay-at-home mom with three children. I lived comfortably, and my husband took care of the finances.
We are members of a church where we'd tithe 15 percent of our income and donate large sums on top of that.
Well, my husband blew through our money, cheated on me with a younger woman and then left me and the children.
I reached out to the church for help, but am now receiving the cold shoulder. No sympathy, no kindness — nothing.
These people were my friends and now they are treating me like dirt, because not only am I a single mother in the midst of a divorce, but I can't shell out money the way we used to because I need to feed my kids and pay car insurance.
I've moved back in with my mother and work as a cleaning lady to make ends meet.
This is breaking my heart. I really love this church, but I don't understand this cruelty. I was the one who was wronged. In the meantime, my husband and his new fiancée are welcomed with open arms.
I am at a loss as to what to do. Can you offer any guidance?
Amy says: You need to find a new church. Everything you report is a reflection of how institutions run, but not how spiritual communities should operate. People should not be stigmatized when their circumstances change. And people who are needy, and hurting, should find solace, assistance and recognition of their struggles in their spiritual home.
This is a pastoral matter, and it would be appropriate for you to bring this to the your pastor. All of those donations over the years were not intended as a down payment for a time when you might need payback, but your very presence should be enough for you to receive emotional, spiritual and perhaps even financial support when you've needed it the most.
None of this should have any bearing on your faith. Humanity — with all of its flaws, foibles and petty cruelties — has a way of interfering with the work of the divine. People — sometimes, we're the worst.
Give friend a chance to explain
Dear Amy: Recently an old friend's son died. I was very close with both the older and the younger man.
I learned of his death too late to attend the funeral, and was shocked when I learned that my friend didn't attend his only child's funeral. They weren't close in recent years, but still.
I have ceased speaking to my friend. We are both in our 70s, and have known each other since we were 16.
Should I resume our friendship?
Amy says: You don't seem to have talked to your friend about his son's death. On the face of it, his absence from his child's funeral is baffling, but your friend might have had health (or other issues) preventing him from being there.
It is a shame to cut off a friendship without explanation after so many years. Your friend has already suffered a big loss; I hope you won't compound his loss without at least having a conversation.
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