The light is promised to you, she said with tears in her eyes. I have called upon the light a time or two when I was drowning in darkness and I promise you he will come, within minutes. You can be free. All you have to do is ask. He is waiting with open arms. Its not about religion, she explained. Its about the energy. I draw such positive and powerful energy from his light. When she said, You don’t have to do this alone..that’s when the flood came. Crying in a hair salon? Is that taboo? We were having a moment!
I am not necessarily new to the concept of a higher power. I was in Alcoholics Anonymous for years. I called to him when I was on my knees at my house and knew in the far reaches of my body I needed help. I did my step work and I believe turned my will and my life over to something greater than myself. I could feel it for a short time. I made a point of checking in with my higher power. I remember driving to work one day and the exact location on the road I unconsciously began a dialogue with my higher power. It was comforting to know something much more powerful and present than me had my back.
I thought of it as nature in general, then the ocean. I think the ocean has given me the most relief and peace of mind. I still run to it in when I feel completely out of sorts and don’t know what to do next. The booming sounds of the waves, the smell of the ocean air, that cold water rushing over my feet has always rejuvenated me. I breathe when I am there. Deep cleansing breaths. I tend to hold my breath when I am at home.
However, I am new to more organized religion. Going to Church and such. I grew up with no foundation. I don’t think there was any discussion about going to church or not, we just didn’t. No explanation about Easter or Christmas. It just wasn’t really spoken in our house. I remember when I was really young, maybe 6-7, my brother and I went to church with an old couple in our neighborhood. They were thrilled to show us around, hold our hand and explain who we were. We were their good deed. The woman enticed us with candy. If we sat very still and were very good we would get candy. I could be remembering this wrong, but it almost became an obligation to them that we go every Sunday.
Later in my teenage years I had moved to Arkansas. It took me quite a while to find friends in this new setting. I was the odd man out with a California “surfer” accent. In due time, and many sports later I fell in with a very nice girl who had a loving family. They were quite religious and heavily involved in the church. I loved being around this family, as they were the epitome of what I imagined it to be. So kind, loving, warm, and genuinely interested in each other. I began to spend a lot of time at my friend’s house. So, one day she invited me to youth group.
This point in time is etched in my memory bank. It draws such emotion from me just thinking about it. I think deep down this is the seed that causes my fear/aversion to church. Perhaps my first introduction was a rock-a-thon. Each person would get pledges to see how long they could stay up and “rock” in a rocking chair through the night. While not rocking, you could be playing games, listening to music, eating food. I think I enjoyed that. It was the next encounter that brings tears and complete sadness to my being when I think about it.
Youth group was also a youth ministry. Sorry, I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. We sat around the circle and read a passage from the bible (which I had never even really held in my hands before.) and then discussion ensued. Details are foggy. I want to say we were talking about Joseph. In any event, the reading portion ended and many of the kids had much to say regarding it. I had nothing to say. I didn’t even understand it. I had never heard it before. All the sudden I was picked on and asked a specific question as to my thoughts on the matter. Again, I had no answer. I looked around this circle of people I didn’t really know and felt so inadequate. The boy who asked the first time, asked again, this time adding what are you doing here if you know nothing of the bible? How can that be, what is wrong with you and your parents?
I don’t really remember if my friend defended me, but I know the teacher didn’t. I ran out into the hall so full of shame. Tears running down my face. I was trapped as my friend was my ride home. Finally the teacher did come to find me, she/he took me back into the classroom and tried to console me. But the damage was done. I honestly think I have felt unworthy in the eyes of god ever since. Its remained self-inflicted unworthiness. It’s funny how things of long ago just stay with you.
My husband and I did get married in a church as he grew up w a strong foundation. I was fine with it. We found a wonderful pastor in Norther California who was just hippie enough to make me not feel judged. Unfortunately, we moved an hour away from that church. As we searched for another one in our hometown I tried to stay open minded. Each Sunday we went, I just cried through the whole sermon. I’m not exactly sure what that is about.
When I was in the hospital in April, my husband encouraged me to talk to the chaplain. I was so nervous. I didn’t really know what to say. At that time, I was also experiencing psychotic symptoms that were satanic in nature. It was a battle between god and satan in my mind. I got a “message” from god that he was essentially turning me over to the dark side. So we talked about that. I asked whether it was my fault and something I could have done in this lifetime. He indulged me, but the one thing I remember most was he said, god would never turn ANYONE away that wanted his help. Not the worst person you could possibly think of. Certainly not you.
i have surrendered to an eating disorder. I have surrendered to alcoholism. I don’t know why I am having such a hard time w this. I think it’s not tangible enough for me right now. The ocean is tangible. I can see it. I can feel it. I long for strength. I long to feel accepted and loved in my heart. I long to feel safe. These things are possible, or so I have been told. Do I have to feel like I deserve it first? Or do I just deserve it because I am?