Yesterday I worked at the Southern California Assemblies of God Conference, and it was a weird blast from the past. As I sat around and watched people all of the elements were familiar. People walked up to me and said "Praise the Lord". I watched the huge service on a big screen TV and the preacher spoke for over an hour and at the end had a long "alter call". People raised their hands to the loud worship music and bathed in the spirit.
The thing is that by the time I was at the end of wanting to be involved in Pentecostal Christianity I was kind of in the same place I was yesterday. A place where none of it played on my emotions as much it did in the beginning, but rather where all of these things were common place. I got to the point where the dramatic music and the demands of the preacher couldn't make me cry one more time, because I had already cried so many times. It was like I had to make this emotional separation between myself and what was going on, because otherwise I was constantly hysterically crying for some reason- spirit induced or not.
I don't mean to completely knock the church because I think there are some things in it that are important to people- the teaching to love your neighbor, the fellowship, etc. For me, the constant heightened emotion was the thing I struggled with the most. It's almost as if I felt like the preachers were performers and their goal was to make me cry, and with just the right rift of guitar and piano at the end, when they were asking people to come forward and ask for forgiveness they did it to me again time after time. It's hard for me to explain what I mean, except at some point I just felt so emotionally manipulated I shut down, and that made me doubt a lot of the realness of a lot of things that I had experienced- because everything was so dramatized that I didn't know which emotions I could consider to be legitimate. Another bone in the bag is that I am diagnosed clinical depression and sometimes felt like the church just always kept me on the downside of things because of all the emotional issues it created.
I don't know if this makes a lot of sense. I didn't sit at the conference yesterday and think that the people in attendance were ridiculous. I respect their beliefs a lot. I just can't take the emotional-ness of it because I am so emotional in the first place that I can't take another thing being thrown into the mix. Also I don't like feeling that manipulated all the time. I didn't like feeling guilty because I couldn't cry anymore.
I appreciate so much the freedom of being a Quaker. I feel like I am just at peace with myself and am not constantly having to make sure I am okay enough with all the preachers who are telling me that I am not. I appreciate the ability to be emotional when I need to, but at the same time having the peace of mind to really just sit an enjoy the silence without feeling guilty because I am not responding in the appropriate emotional manner.
I have been with D for like 2.5 years now, or something like that, but I feel like I am still learning to be someone who is compatible with someone else. I need to be someone who is sensitive enough, but not over sensitive, interested enough, but not too nagging, etc. I guess that's to say that it is something that requires a constant tweaking of balance. Especially because we are not in the living together stage, we are still in this part where we are not completely involved in everything else the other one does yet, but still are interested- at least I think he is interested in my stuff to. ;)
Last night when I was taking a break from school work I was thinking about how one thing I need to work on it the ability to not feel responsible for someone else's feelings. I have always been the friend who feels like if you are sad then nothing more than my friendship should be enough to serve as a reminded that things will be okay, but this doesn't always work. Sometimes people have hard times and struggle with happiness and even if you are a part of that person's like you are not going to the instant thing that makes everything better. My problem is that I think I should be an instant fix. And then I tend to get a little bit angry at the other person when I am not their instant fix- not angry as much as frustrated, but I feel like I sit in front of D sometimes waving my hands and saying "UMMM BUT I'M Great!!!" and then get mad when he is not instantly happy again. I think that I realize that this is pretty silly and a little self centered. While I want him to think of me and our relationship as a positive thing to reflect on, I can't expect to be the cure all of everything, and when I do I am just going to let myself down.
And hell, I know plenty of women who are married, and have unhappy husbands and they are fine with it- in fact it doesn't seem to get them down at all. Okay, that's a joke. When you care about someone it is hard to not be attached to all of their emotions, but I am still seeking a healthy balance in this area. Maybe I am getting closer.
Also, this is a note to say that I had a wonderful time spending almost a whole month with my sister here visiting. I tried not to really lose my shit when she left because I am not really sure when they next time I am going to see her is going to be, but I am hoping that somewhere is my five weeks adventure to Europe I will make my way to Bulgaria to see her new home.
I admire her courage in embarking in a two year commitment to the peace corp. I also have a really hard time conceptualizing her as a 22 year on woman and not my little sister who I need to take care or and make sure is okay. That is not any fault of her own, just to say that I have a lot of that big sister protective side to me, and I don't think that it's easy to come to terms with adulthood ever.
We are very different people in some ways- mainly I don't think she likes school as much as me- but in other ways we are more similar than can be easily explained. We had the time to hash out some pretty sensitive topics when she was here, and I think even though it was really hard it was also really good to talk about things that really only the two of us can understand. It was not all emotional breakdowns though, as we did spend a substantial amount of our time together in hot tubs even when it was a little bit too chilly outside of them to get out and lay in the sun. I think that our temperaments work well toget her and we basically relax well around each other, although I do love that she seems to bring out the crazy side of my personality that is not always so apparent in my adult maturity.
I love her a lot, and I am excited for her adventure.