Secrets, Lies, and Desperately Seeking Lisa

Trigger warning: Some readers may find contents of this post upsetting. Proceed with caution.

*Some identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the contributor.

A fellow church shared a story about her friend who happens to be a distant acquaintance of mine at a church we attend. Her friend Lisa was going through a terrible breakup, had lost her job, and wound up in the hospital for emotional distress.

Jessica was upset because she felt Delarosa knew more of what was happening with Lisa and did not inform the pastors at the church. Jessica felt certain if one of the pastors knew what was going on they would have intervened before things got worse.

I remember Lisa as sweet and kind, sometimes coming off a bit naïve for a woman her age, but her disposition was always cheerful.

Jessica said, “Lisa and Daniel were dating for about a year before they broke up. And Delarosa, Lisa, and Daniel were friends. They would always hang out together with other members of the congregation in a group setting.”

Jessica continued, “All of a sudden Lisa stopped attending church and bible study. Then Daniel’s church attendance was sporadic, but he was still coming.”

After a few missed Sundays and church events, Jessica decided to check in on her friend, but the calls went straight to voicemail. After a few days of calling, she learned Lisa’s phone had been disconnected. That is what set off alarm bells for Jessica.

Jessica reached out to Daniel and Delarosa, but neither returned her calls. Jessica said, “This isn’t right. If it were Delarosa, Lisa would be right here trying to find out if she’s okay. I don’t understand what’s going on?” She went on to tell some church members about Lisa and wanted someone to check on her, but that fell on deaf ears.

If it has nothing to do with Jesus, then there is no point in bringing it up.

Nearly no one gave two shits about Lisa’s well-being; including Delarosa. Almost everyone carried on as if nothing happened. That’s the kind of bullshit behavior that is despicable about some churches and the faith community. If it has nothing to do with Jesus, then there is no point in bringing it up.

That’s right people! We’re just going to stick our heads in the sand and pretend we don’t understand what’s going on, and the issue will magically go away on it’s own. That’s straight-up horseshit!

Whatever happened to the fucking hospital ministry the elders and Delarosa would yap about practically every week? Shouldn’t someone from that ministry have seen Lisa and prayed for her?

Does this mean the hospital ministry is — do I dare say it (*gasp) — just a façade?

Jessica eventually connected with Lisa’s mother and sister, and they were pissed.

The night she found out was the night of the revival.

They refused to talk to anyone from the church apart from Jessica. According to Jessica’s conversation with Lisa’s mom, “whatever happened between the three of them had her go off the deep end. She said, ‘the last time I spoke to Lisa, she said she was never going back to that church ever again, and Daniel and Delarosa are the reason.'”

It was later rumored that Daniel had a fling with Delarosa while dating Lisa. The night Lisa found out was the night of the revival — the last time she was seen at the church.

Daniel ended up leaving the church in favor of his old church a few weeks after we learned Lisa was admitted to the hospital for emotional distress. Delarosa still attends the church regularly.

Church trauma and toxic situations within the faith community rarely have a positive outcome, and Lisa’s story is no different. We may never know what caused Lisa’s mental breakdown. Sadly, the reoccurring theme that I often see is preaching about being a keeper is just lip service  and that seems to be the worst tragedy of all.

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