”I immersed myself as deeply as possible in the rituals, beliefs, practices, and culture of 12 distinct faith systems (one each month for all 2011) and in the process, changed my life forever.”–Andrew Bowen
The house was empty last night; my wife and kids were out of town and I was left to my own devices. I did what any good, observant Jew would do: I said prayers and studied the Torah and other books on Judaism. Right now I’m studying the creation account in Genesis and paying close attention to the relationship between God, Adam, and Eve. We are told of how God visited Adam in the “cool of the day” and basically chatted about…anything and everything. It was a relationship. The Tanakh (Old Testament) is full of them, and they were down right intimate and personal. Rabbi Groner spoke about this relationship as being intellectual, practical, and emotional. We see this dynamic between God and the Children of Israel page after page, yet it seems so foreign, so far removed by all these years. I wondered if the Jewish people feel that intimacy today, if God can be as conspicuously present in their lives as he seems to be in those stories.
So I cracked open a bottle of wine and asked him to come over for a chat. No special prayers (except one specific for consuming wine), no rituals, no religious primer, I just sat down in the fading light of my livingroom and asked God to hang out with me.
Simple enough, right? I’m not asking for money or health or anything selfish, just for God to visit me in the cool of the day. Well, the day became cooler, and darker. I lit my fire pot and poured another glass of wine. I sat quietly and patiently as I stared into the flame. I “called” again. No secretary, no voicemail…nothing, and by this point I’ve got a healthy buzz. Did God just stand me up?
I was disappointed and confused. All I wanted was some company. All I wanted was what those folks in the Tanakh had. Was I asking too much? Did I do something wrong? Does God not like cheap Merlot? Doubt crept in during my weakened state. The rabbis of the Talmud, a commentary and guide on the Torah, recognized two forces within us: the Yetzer Hatov or Good Urge, and the Yetzer Hara or Bad Urge. These forces are constantly at war within us and Judaism states that only good action (as pointed out by the 613 mitzvot) and repentance to God will defeat the Bad Urge.
I thought my invitation to God was a good thing. What’s wrong with asking God to hang out?
“You’re being selfish,” my wife said. After a verbal beating for getting drunk, my wife went on to lambaste me for
forgetting my lessons so far. “Didn’t the Hindus teach you that God is everywhere? So why would you get upset that God didn’t show up where and when you wanted him to when he’s been here the whole time? And you really think he wants to talk to a drunk?”
Wow, no gloves, huh? She was right. It seemed so innocent to ask God to sit down and talk. But what was really going on here?
1) Deep down, I was jealous of the stories in the Tanakh, and we are asked not to covet what others have.
2) I set limits on God. If God is everywhere, why do I need him to sit in my chair? Which leads me to my next point.
3) I wouldn’t need a physical representation if my faith was strong enough to begin with. Let’s face it: when we ask God to “show us a sign” or just show up in general, what we are really saying is that we don’t believe enough by default that he is there. Our fast-paced, materialistic world has conditioned us to only pay attention to what we can immediately see and consume.
God presented himself to the faithful when they had no previous physical representation. It seldom works the other way around. This doesn’t mean that one should increase their faith just for the reward of a divine peep show. I would have done well to remember my Hindu lesson in the Upanishads stating that enlightenment and moksha is reached once we realize the divine in everything and as everything, therefore making representations useless obstacles. Think about it, if God showed last night, my impression of him would be forever cast into that limiting aspect. I would lose all ability to recognize the divine in all of creation because for a split second, he was reduced to a point in space in my living room. This is why God (in many faiths) strictly forbids the creation of idols, not because of jealousy on his part, but because he knows how such an image limits our perception of him. Ironic, isn’t it, that the abstract then becomes a far greater representation than the specificity of a physical form.
I know what you’re thinking: this guy has lost his mind. He’s a crack job. Fair enough, but just remember: I’m not perfect. I’m going to screw up–a lot–and I think we can file this one under “screwed up,” but not before we learn something, and that’s what this is all about.
We remember that every time someone messed up in these stories, God was there. He clothed Adam and Eve after they partook of the fruit (kind of what I did last night) in the Garden. He brought the Children of Israel to the Promised Land after wandering for 40 years. Like a Chinese finger trap, we discover the way out only when we stop struggling. In connecting with the divine, struggling isn’t the answer because we are literally in his presence 24/7. The epiphany only comes once we bring ourselves to rest and open our minds and hearts.
So what’s the moral of the story? Don’t drunk-dial God. He won’t answer, but he will show up in the morning to help you sober up when you’re ready to let him move freely.
Read more on Project Conversion here: http://blog.beliefnet.com/projectconversion/2011/04/drunk-dialing-god.html#ixzz1oIROa3l5
Thanks Andrew! And, speaking of drunk dialing, here is a throw-back article “Digital Hangover“. No God, but a lot of regrets! Enjoy. Blessings to you all in the journey–Reba
My dear friend Nadine and I rushed into the downtown First Baptist, almost on time. We were greeted by Sister Marge, who looked us up and down and pronounced: Y’all…visitors….? This was not a question. Taking into account our skintone, we were clearly not regular members of this historically African-American Baptist church. (We were, in fact, two of only three caucasians in the building… Out of 300+). Still, she kindly smiled and pushed visitor cards and pens across the table, gesturing for us to fill them out.
[Dear readers, it is important you know that I HATE filling out info cards. I dislike spam in any form: whether it be mail, email, or phone. At the mall, I easily tell salespeople that No, I will not give you my phone number or email upon checkout, despite their annoyed looks. Unwelcome phone calls do not end until my name and number have been wiped out of all systems and a promise to Never call me again is elicited. Though occasional church communications do not necessarily fall under the spam category, they are suspect. (Especially because my filling out of a Jehovah's Witness form resulted in a surprise drop-in visit... the next day.) ]
While Nadine was happily filling in her life story, I was trying to wriggle out of the obligation. Can I take it to my seat, and return it later? An emphatic: No. (And when Sister Marge says No, with a look that says Don’t you challenge me, little lady, you do it.) So I sparingly wrote: Name: R.. Address/Phone/Email: None. Religion: Lutheran. (I’m not sure why I wrote this, because I’m not, nor have I ever been, Lutheran.)
Post-Visitor Card, we were directed to sit in the last row of the first section. We took our places, thoroughly enjoying the joyous atmosphere and uplifting music. Until we consulted the program, only to notice the next scheduled event: The Greeting of The Guests. Before we had a chance to consider what this might mean,the choir sat down and Sister Marge took her place at the microphone. Will Miss Nadine [last name] please rise? She rose. Welcome Nadine! Miss [last name]is Catholic! And belongs to [local] Catholic parish! She resides here in the city, and enjoys [activities]! Welcome again, Miss Nadine! Nadine beamed and waved excitedly to the crowd, eyes shining.
Sister Marge cleared her throat. Uh-oh. Only she and I knew about the trainwreck that was about to happen.
Will R. please stand up. R.? Gulp. I stood. What choice did I have? R. is Lutheran. Thank you and welcome, R. I waved, weakly. And sat, quickly.Ugh.
So, Reba, it wasn’t bad enough that we were clearly outsiders, you had to go and use your Initial instead of your name. An Initial! What were you thinking? My cheeks were flaming. I worried the large congregation would give us the cold shoulder, perhaps thinking I was making fun of their formal Welcoming. While occupying myself with worries (I am so bad at this visiting thing. I should totally quit, like, now. I’ve totally embarrassed myself!) the service marched right along to The Fellowship.
The Fellowship is a time when congregants greet (Warmly! With a Holy Hug!) one another for about fifteen minutes. This is no cold, perfunctory Peace be with you and also with you, limp-handshaked greeting time. No! This Fellowship? It’s a full-contact sport.
Watching people begin to enthusiastically Hell-o! Don’t you look fine this morning! to each other, Nadine and I sort of just stood there for a few beats… like we were waiting to be asked to dance and weren’t sure what to do in the meantime.We didn’t wait for long though! Within minutes we were swept into the enthusiastic embrace (literally) of the crowd-at-large. Never in my life have I given or received so many hugs and heartfelt welcomes!We’re so happy to have you, dear. Won’t y’all stay for the involvement fair after service? It’s a potluck! But don’t worry yourself if you didn’t bring anything…we’ve got it covered! Bless you, child, bless your sweet lil’ hearts for visiting! I made sure to clarify my first name was Rebecca, though everyone was nice enough not to mention it. Sister Marge wrapped me into one of the warmest hugs: So glad to have you,come back again! So I can only assume all was forgiven.
The moral of today’s story is this: If you should ever awaken on a Sunday morning feeling bad about yourself, walk (nay, run!) to the nearest African-Amercian Baptist Church. You are guaranteed to receive, at minimum, 100 hugs from little ladies wearing lovely hats, and strong handshakes from dapper, suited gentlemen. You will be Blessed within a centimeter of your existence…and I dare you to feel bad after all that good, old-fashioned, Baptist love.
To be continued…
The One-Drop Rule is an historical, colloquial term in the United States that holds that a person with any trace of sub-Saharan ancestry, however small or invisible, cannot be considered White…they must be considered Black… when it was unclear [historically, in South Africa] from a person’s physical appearance which racial classification they belonged to,” the “pencil test” was employed. This test involved inserting a pencil into a person’s hair to determine if the hair was kinky enough for the pencil to get stuck. If the pencil did not fall right out of the person’s hair, that individual was deemed Black. (Source: BlackHistory.com)
What if, pre-Civil rights, you lived your whole life in the North: looking, acting, dressing, identifying as White, only to visit the South and discover that below the Mason-Dixon line, everyone calls you Black. All because you have One-Drop, as little as 1/32nd, “black blood”. Then they refuse to attend school with you, shove you to the back of the bus, and force you to use a different restroom. I’m White! I’ve always been White. Who are you to tell me I’m Black!
How would you feel? Confused by your lost identity? Like you wanted to scream because no one understood?
Religious questioning, especially the bold kind I practice, can land you squarely in the One-Drop of doubt category or marginalized believers. It’s a division no sane, spiritual person would choose to occupy, but many are forced to do just that. Because their doubts place them outside the arbituary line of religion. The one that someone else drew. And God forbid you carry more than 1/32nd of doubt around!
In some families being a Christian is even more intregal to identity than skin color. For me,being a Christian wasn’t part of who I was. It was all of who I was. And I can no more change that heritage than I can the color of my skin. So here is the question: should the drops, or even buckets, of my doubt be allowed to rob me of my identity?
Yes…According to people who think in the same way as racists who didn’t want to share their swimming pool with anyone contaminated by “black blood”. Objection! I can hear the voices rising. Racism was about the color of one’s skin; religion is about the state of one’s soul. One is temporal, the other eternal. It’s not the same at all!
But…is it really so different?
Isn’t banning the doubters and questioners and just-plain disbelievers from God like refusing to serve a group of people in a restaurant? One is temporal, the other eternal.
Isn’t forbidding a shared drinking fountain as bad as withholding a sip from the Water of Eternal Life?One is temporal, the other eternal.
This isn’t racism we’re discussing; we’re certainly much to advanced for that.
At some point in the civil rights movement, the nation’s thinking tipped. They not only gave up the One-Drop rule; they surrendered their hatred. People who had been fundamentally raised to discriminate opened their hearts, and the rest as they say, is history…the history we are commemorating today. I wonder: will there ever come a day when religious-cism will tip? A day when those raised to exclude others from eternity will open their hearts to freedom from condemnation?
Today, in honor of the great Dr. King, I’d like to say this:
I too have a dream.
That one day people of all faiths will join hands: different, distinct…together.
I cried and threw up a little in my mouth this morning…all before 7:05am.
The setting: a 6am boot camp class, henceforth be known as The Torture. The problem: there are only four women in the class and I am the slowest, fattest gal. Even cheating on reps and laps, I am still the slowest. (For the record, I will continue to cheat without any remorse whatsoever. Because I am there to burn calories and build muscle…not to become more demoralized more than I already am.)
Yikes.I haven’t felt this awkward since junior high gym class. Typically, being an adult is great: you can choose to avoid hated life subjects like math and gym class.
(Sadly, dear reader, this is not the case when one has allowed one’s self to drink too many bottles of Pinot Grigio and eat too many chicken wings. For unless one desires to continue along the path of fatness, adult gym class it must be.)
This morning, I wanted to quit boot camp A.) When I walked in the door B.) The first time I realized I could not keep up…even by cheating C.) Every one of the 3,300 seconds thereafter D.) When I realized I was paying good money for The Torture.
Post-torture, whilst in the car simultaneously tearing up and choking on vomit, I realized: this is precisely how I felt Post-church on the first day of Thirty by Thirty (5/27/11)! Because, in a spiritual sense, I was the slowest gal in the pew. Toting around more metaphysical fat than a morbidly obese diabetic, I literally couldn’t breathe (and therefore couldn’t sing). I sweated through the sermon, blood pressure and heart-rate steadily rising. I couldn’t stand up because my legs were shaky.
Though I did want to quit, leave and never go back for every one of the church service’s 7,200 seconds, I got through it. (Tears and vomit notwithstanding.) And today, approximately 20,612,800 seconds later, I am in a much better place. A spiritually healthy and (dare I say?) metaphysically “thin” place. With Thirty by Thirty, I’ve shed more spiritual and emotional tonnage than the combined cast of Celebrity Biggest Loser. I still have plenty of work left to do–I’d say I’m in the spiritual muscle-defining phase now–but now I’m finally seeing the benefits of my hard, hard work.
My Thirty by Thirty journey is not for the faint of heart, and The Torture is not for the faint of weight. But I’m choosing to persevere through both on my path to a healthy and thin (in that order) life. And…I’m telling you about it so I can’t quit
Tomorrow’s Post: The 80/20 Rule of Religion
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My Barefoot Buddha (BB) look-a-like in-a-loincloth greeted me warmly and, after I told him about Thirty by Thirty, offered to give me a tour and explanation of the temple goings-on. His manner matched his jolly, pot-bellied look: friendly, sweet and funny. After seeing his attire and noticing several other shirtless men and several almost-shirtless women, my fears about the Very Sari melted away. I couldn’t do anything about being white, but at least the dress was OK and no one was laughing at me (that I know of).
Now, dear readers, if you have ever taken the time to consider what the inside of a Hindu temple might look like, perhaps you will understand my confusion when I noticed it was constructed of drywall and indoor/outdoor carpet.(I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised since the majority of new church building in the US are similarly constructed, but I did feel slightly…let down.) I was expecting stone! And more stone! Maybe even ruins!
Well. What the room lacked in stone it made up for in statues of gods and goddesses. BB instructed me to move only counter-clockwise around the perimeter and to take a lap to greet each god/goddess before continuing on to the next. “Greeting” includes a combination of possible rituals including bowing ( at the waist or prostrating on the floor), silent prayer, the offering of gifts (money, flowers, fruit). Prostration in the Very Sari was impossible and I didn’t have any gifts to bring, so I settled on a slight bow and silent prayer. So I greeted (nicely, I hope) each multi-breasted/handed/headed statue with as much reverence as I could muster. The process much reminded me of curtsying and crossing before a crucifix in the Catholic church, if said crucifix were to have multiple appendages and expressions, and be located behind a pane of glass, much like a very large jewelry display case. The glass is so the gods are not defiled by human touch, and there are so many because people need different representations to relate to the Divine. Now. That is something I can get behind. BB and I briefly discussed how the idea of a male-only god could get in the way of reaching the divine for someone who had say, been abused by a man.
[I really like the idea of a female half of God. Isn't there something terribly lacking about a patriarchal God who is oh-so-ready-to-smite you but is also the epitome of Love? Catholics partially remedy this with the idea of our Mother, the Virgin Mary. Throughout mystic history, it is not God the Father but rather the Divine Mother who often appears to distribute Love and Light to mortals. Much like the multiple renderings of Hindu gods,Catholics also utilize Saints for divine inspiration, a whole lot of them in fact. I vividly recall seeing (greeting?) relics of the Saints behind glass walls in the cathedrals of Europe: bones,parts of garments, chips of earthenware, they were all "greeted" by reverent Catholic pilgrims. Granted, no one prostrated fully. But more than one looked like they wanted to, with"crazy eyes" that seemed to say if I can only get close enough I could touch the divine. None of the Hindus looked particularly crazy, but the goal of their greeting devotion seemed clear:I come before you, offering myself and my gifts, that I might be blessed.Not much different than a Christian pre-tithe prayer, is it?]
I liked all of the god/desses (once I got used to their snaky arms and squat hips), but my absolute favorite was the Unknown Fountain. (I’m quite sure that wasn’t its name, but that is how I remember it.) As I mentioned, all the other god-shrines are behind glass…except this one. A little, closed room, it features a running fountain in the middle with just enough room around the outside to shuffle single-file around it. What’s this I inquire of BB. He smiles widely. This is our monument to the invisible God who cannot be seen, who is too vast to be contained.
This is a God I know.
So I follow the line around the fountain, carefully copying the actions of the people in front of me. Walk halfway around the fountain. Stop. Bow head. Pick up ladle. Dip into fountain. Pour water over top stone. Dip hand in fountain, touch water to forehead. Kiss hand. Exit.
Whatd’ya know…surprise!…Holy (Hindu) Water! And a monument to The God Who Cannot Be Seen.
“For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ ” Acts Chapter 17
To be continued…
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Sister #1: I got a remote start in my car for Christmas!
Sister #2: I got an IPAD!
Me: I got a pair of socks from the emergency room…
Brother-in-law: At least your present was the most expensive.
Henceforth this holiday shall be known as: The Christmas Rebecca Landed in the ER. (For a case of hives that migrated to her throat, which started swelling shut.)
It shall also be known as: The Year a Doctor Scares Trent. (When, upon our arrival at the urgent care clinic, we were immediately sent away by the attending physician to the “Real ER, where they can do something for your wife.”)
And this is why I do not have a post about attending a Christmas service.
On the bright side, I did pray fervently between the urgent care and the “Real ER”.
Lesson Learned: Only go to the urgent care clinic with urgency…not an emergency.
Bonus Lesson: If, in the excitement of a swelling throat, you fail to wear socks, the ER nurse will gladly provide you with a pair for the
nominal astronomical price of your stay. But only AFTER you have bared your bottom* to your mother-in-law, your mother-in-law’s neighbor’s son [he is a doctor! I do not expose myself to visiting neighbor's sons for fun!], three urgent care nurses, one incompetent urgent care doctor, three ER nurses,two ER physician’s assistants,and a partridge in a pear tree.
(*My bottom would like to note that it prefers to remain covered. However, if it is called to duty, in such cases as it being eclipsed by welted, migrating hives and thus becoming a threat to the life of its owner, my bottom is very patriotic and willing to be bared, even if said baring causes much shame!)
I realize this post has nothing to do with going to places of worship, except that I skipped going to church on the biggest church day of the year. So….sorry about that.
In my defense, I am certain more people find God in the Emergency Room in one day than find Him in some mega-churches on Christmas.
1. Do you know what caused the hives? No.
2. Have you eaten anything new or changed anything recently (add long list of things you think I may not have considered as a cause but, believe me, if you think your throat is swelling shut you ponder possibilities. Very.Very.Thoroughly.) No.
3. Can the doctor tell you what caused them? No.
4. Are you OK now? I am drugged up on Benedryl, steroids and various antihistamines. Everything is OK.
A big shout-out to Jen Lancaster, NYT best-selling author of multiple books (including my fav Bitter is the New Black),whose hilarious, sharp-witted voice I heard in my head while considering the absurdity of my Christmas Situation in the ER. Though I have not the faintest idea of Ms. Lancaster’s religious views outside of her former attendance at the Magnificent Mile Mecca,I believe we share an affinity for mild, mind-altering meds (Her: Ambien. Me: Benadryl). Thanks for your great sense of humor…it ( and the drugs) helped get me through My Very Bare-y Christmas.
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“Aunt Rebecca, do you believe in Santa Claus?”
(Carefully) “Do you believe in Santa?”
(Vigorous head-nodding and jumping around) “Yes!!!”
(More carefully) “How do you know he’s real?”
(Puzzled) “Don’t you know if you believe in Santa you can hear jingle bells when you close your eyes?” (Squishes eyes tightly) “I’m hearing them…right…now! Do you hear them?”
I shut my eyes, but all I hear is my seven year-old niece’s excitement.
How I wish I could hear the jingle bells: my niece’s irrefutable proof that Santa lives, that elves are working happily away in the North Pole, that presents will appear under the tree, that the world is full of joy and peace, that all is safe and right and magical.
Her bells hold all the magic of Christmas wrapped into a sound that fights the inevitable hows and whys. How can Santa reach all the children of the earth in one night? Why do people without chimneys still get presents? How do reindeer fly? Why is there a Santa at every store?
But all these questions? They mean nothing to her now. Because she can hear the jingle bells.
When my niece talks about Santa, she glows; her eyes light up with the wonder and magic of Christmas, and reflected in her is all the world’s joy. I encountered the same shiny look on the faces of the Mormon missionaries, and I wanted to throttle them—actually lean over the coffee table and strangle them with their Army of God-issued ties.
Because I felt very, VERY jealous…as evergreen with envy as a Christmas tree.Because they shut their eyes and hear jingle bells, but when I close mine questions are all I hear. I know how it feels to be so, SO certain of everything. To believe. To hear the jingle bells.
It is so happy and easy to have all the answers handed to you, to wrap yourself tightly in the peace that surpasses understanding. To share the belief, the wonder, the magic, with people who love you because you can hear the same jingle bells as they.
But what happens for my niece when someday her best friend whispers more questions in her ear, planting the seeds of doubt? When a boy makes fun of her on the playground, taunting “You still believe in Santa?Don’t you know he isn’t real?”
What happens when the Mormon missionaries open a closet before Christmas Eve, and all their presents tumble out?
When they all close their eyes…and can’t hear the jingle bells?
I’ll tell you what happens: you lose your faith. In Santa, in religion, maybe even in God. And you push it all out of your mind, ignoring the ache that lives where there once was magic. You denounce everything that you once put your belief in, grow up, and don’t acknowledge the hurt, the betrayal, because it simply hurts too much.
Nine years later.
You wake up and realize you want to believe in something real. You want to hear jingle bells without closing your eyes.
And seven months later, on Christmas Day, you realize you DO hear them ringing… loud and clear.
With your eyes wide open.
Because you are the one shaking them.
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Post-Christian Spiritualist Temple Experience, no one was more surprised than me to discover the existence of dark energy outside the confines of Paranormal Activity I, II and III.
I boast a long and rich history with Satan, wherein certain parents and pastors of mine systematically rebuked him in the name of Jesus, regularly banishing his malevolent minions from our house, my bedroom, and the church. I even witnessed the exorcism of a church camp sound system that was behaving badly. Clearly this was no ordinary power surge! The Evil One himself infested the equipment to keep 4th graders from hearing the message of salvation for the twenty-seventh time in six days! This process, known in Christian circles as Spiritual Warfare, was simultaneously comforting and frightening. I understood said warfare to mean that Satan could enter our house and possibly hide out under my bed (scary!), but my Dad could easily make him depart by praying (calming!) until he came back again (alarming!).
Upon considering the Devil as an adult, I threw out the idea of a lurking,evil entity preoccupied with ruining church camp sermons. I also tossed the notion of intelligent evil altogether and, carefully refraining from exorcisms of inanimate objects, proceeded happily along in my life without the heavy burden and time-commitment of telling Beelzebub to Depart from me! In the name of Jesus!
Around the same time, I rejected praying out loud. There are more reasons for this than the exorcism factor, but it suffices to say here that 99% of the (few) prayers I uttered after my 21st year rose from my mind to the Almighty’s ear. I conscientiously objected to spoken prayer on the grounds that an all-knowing God needed not hear my voice. And, it was just too traumatic to pray out loud. Much to close to my past for comfort.
Anyhoo. An alert reader needs this background information to understand just how bizarre the events following my time with the Christian Spiritualists really were. Please keep said background in mind when I say this: something sinister followed me home from the witchcraft/Christian-craft conference.
You know that time you randomly stepped in a pile of dog poo? And didn’t realize it until you walked in the house, took off your shoes and sniffed? That’s how it was when I arrived home after five hours with the Christian Spiritualists.I discovered (too late!) some metaphysical ju-ju clinging to my spiritual shoe-shoe.
In the immortal words of bumper sticker-ists everywhere, “Sh** Happens”. And apparently it happens to me…in the First Christian Spiritualist’s temple sanctuary…with a crystal. Or maybe it was a tarot card–or a divination rod–or a hymnal?
It started simply enough— with a headache—which became a bad headache— that turned into The.Worst.Headache.Ever. EVER! My head hurt so badly I thought it was going to split open right there is the bed, which I was in for a full fourteen hours. Note: migraines have never, ever plagued me, but plagued I was, and would continue to be, for the next three days.
I awoke that night and the following two nights promptly at three a.m., with a disturbing weight on my chest and terrible anxiety. Once awake and thoroughly freaked out, I felt some kind of dark presence in our bedroom. Note:I have never felt unsafe in my own bed, unless you count the time Oxley knocked over the laundry basket and I thought someone was breaking in.
I prayed silently;it went away. I stopped praying; it came back. Feeling crazy, I woke up Trent, who rolled me into a bear-hug and told me to calm down. But calm down I could not…not while this creepy energy was hanging out with me.
After two days of this weirdness, my spiritual circuitry was so hot you could fry a metaphysical egg on my chakras. I was on high-level alert, like a red rating of spiritual terrorism. I considered calling a priest, even though I am not Catholic. Instead, what did I do? I called my father. In the middle of the night. To pray for me. OUT LOUD. It helped, until the next day when the weirdness forced me to do the unthinkable.
I personally got down on my knees and prayed. OUT LOUD. Rebuking whatever evil was lurking around me and commanding it to Depart from me! In the name of Jesus!
I refuse to name the weirdness Satan, and I suspect that invoking the power of Christ against it was a conditioned knee-jerk reaction based on my childhood and watching too many scary movies. My best guess is that in willingly (and foolishly) joining my energy with about twenty other psychics of dubious origin, I managed to carry home some transference of negative energy. Spiritual or natural I do not know, and I realize this whole thing is very New Age-y and stinks of sensationalism. But still.
If I ever consult a psychic, or medium, or Christian Spiritualist again, I plan to take a crucifix, garlic, and a rosary with me. And possibly bathe in Holy Water before and after.
I am thankful, however, that the spiritual ju-ju forced me to break through my praying wall. I can now pray out loud with anyone, anywhere, for any reason. Except maybe to banish Satan from church camp sound systems.
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The circumstance is the spiritual forum at the First Christian Spiritualist Temple, and I am sweating bullets. Is it because I actually feel heat radiating from Mr. Fro-Bro’s hands or because this historic church building lacks air conditioning?
I’m about to grab my sandals and bolt until I notice an angelic, white-haired oldster rise from a seat in the corner. She hobbles over, lifts her hands over my forehead, and begins channeling energy into my crown chakra. I relax. Nothing truly bad is going to happen to me in the presence of Psychic Grandma.
I’m in a church building, with a totally normal sanctuary and yet things are just….off.
Truthfully though, I do not recommend it based on what happened to me after I got home; it was not good. More to come on that…