There I was. The congregation stood…I followed as to not be the only one who didn’t…as they sang “All are welcooomme here”. Was this the progression of the church? Of religion? Where they played Lady Gaga and James Taylor? It was different than I had ever experienced, the Pastor was enthusiastic. I wasn’t used to this in a Catholic church. I hadn’t been to church in ages and when my friend asked me to go to a service with her, even with all the attempts to keep me engaged, I felt I didn’t belong there. I even started to have flashbacks…
I grew up in the Catholic Church. Two services on Sunday, Catechism on Tuesday in preparation for my 1st communion…I hated it. The kneeling, the amount of Our Father’s and Hail Mary’s just to repent for my sins-awful….and in this service when they had the all too familiar “Peace be with you” portion, I was drawn back to every childhood Sunday where we were dragged to church and had to shake hands or hug strangers. It wasn’t welcoming then. The only thing relieving about that portion of the service was knowing it meant church would be over soon.
But..here, these people were, smiling, laughing, singing to these songs. Hands raised high as they sang..you couldn’t find a more welcoming, more happy, more perfect environment..yet still, I gazed around the room. Everyone was singing, everyone..and just about everyone had their eyes closed as they sang “shout to the Lord”..could I do this? I didn’t feel I could. As the young girl behind me sang her lungs out, and the older gentleman in the last pew exaggerated the chords as he sang “ Almighty Gooooooooooooooood” to almost make the entire church aware “Hey, I can sing, hear my vibrato” .
I felt out of place but here, even the lyrics for “God loves everyone” -the song sang of acceptance. That God would love you no matter what but here I felt, I can’t love… His church. I tried to understand. The people praising Him, they loved the music. I was bored. I wasn’t upset, I was just wondering: “Is there anyone else feeling the way I am now?” It didn’t seem like it. Everyone looked relaxed and at peace. Because I have never felt a sense of calm and happiness after leaving church…ever, I tried to relate. The look on the faces of those in the church seemed so happy to just be there, as if they were only complete once they were there. I thought “Yoga…yoga makes me feel like that.” Was this their yoga? Or am I now, and throughout my whole life..missing the bigger picture? I couldn’t then and can’t tell you that now.
As the “offering” came by I didn’t give any money either..simply because I didn’t have any cash but I was wondering if I would have even if I did have money. Now am I an even bigger asshole for thinking that? My thought was “God will forgive me..if there is one”. See, I’m not really sure I could give them my money. Although out of any church they deserved it. I have NEVER seen a Pastor so passionate, so kind, so friendly, so happy! It seems like the happiest church on Earth but see, I’ve seen too many Dateline episodes where the church has taken people’s money and the Pastor’s have bought mansions and cars with that money. I trusted this Pastor because there was something so pure about him but I just don’t trust the whole “church” system if that makes sense.
The people were kind, the service, beautiful, but I don’t see myself going back. Church didn’t resonate with me as a child and teen, it doesn’t now either.
Does this affect my dating life? Probably. Now, maybe, I can’t date anyone who is a every Sunday church type of dude because I don’t think I can be that. Even in a place, where they are clearly accepting of everyone and I’m sure even if they knew how far from religion I had become, they would STILL accept me, I don’t think it’s a place for me.
When I was religious, it stuck with me til about 19 years old..where I started to learn more about worldly things and allowed my then boyfriend to assist in the removal of religion from my life. I was impressionable then and he said “Doesn’t it make sense for a government to create religion and and a God to say to the people ‘When no one is watching, you must do right’ in order to control the population and make them feel like they should attempt to do right because if they don’t, there are consequences, maybe not now, but in the afterlife?”
I couldn’t argue. It made sense, and only as I got older did I draw further and further away from religion.
It’s kind of sad if you think about it. As we get older, we believe less because we learn more. No more Santa, no Tooth Fairy…no more God.
I know the answer the church has is that I’m just supposed to have blind faith..and in a way, I think I do..but I’m hoping, praying even, that my faith lies in something higher than myself and not in any one church,not in any one God, and that I’m allowed to believe that it’s not any one religion that will save me from the depths of Hell but that the fact that I am faithful (or more spiritual) alone will be enough.