Sunday, April 02, 2006

By Popular Demand

I should be going to bed, but I want to write this down before I forget some of the things I remembered earlier tonight...

I don't work as hard as I should to hide it, but in general, I have this wonderful wellspring of anger that I can pull from any time I need it. I don't mean "wonderful" in the good way.

Anyway, I coast at angry, with plenty more where that came from. It's there when I need it.

So, over the past... I don't know... 10 months or so, my cup of anger has just runneth over. I mean, I had an abundance to begin with, and now I've got it in spades.

Also, Andy-the-sometimes-commenter had made a comment to me in person about not everyone in a pew necessarily knows what they believe, and that stuck with me.

So, with these two things in my mind (the anger and the pew-thing), I'd been thinking--since late December, actually--of going to a church service where Andy-the-sometimes-commenter was... um... preacherizing... or ministerizing... or whatever the verb is. The big reason was I wondered if being at a service and singing some songs with a bunch of strangers who--in theory, anyway--weren't angry hate-mongers might help me with this overabundance of anger. So I planned to go the first Sunday of the year this year.

Well, there was always SOMETHING... the fact that I work the full-time teaching job and the 17-to-26 hour pizza delivery job (and thus have very little ME time--something else to get angry about) being the most popular reason... although that didn't start until February. January 1st was an issue because... well, it was January 1st.

Anyway, after much putting-it-off-ed-ness, I managed to figure out how to avoid avoiding it: e-mail Andy and say I was thinking of going, and needed to know what people tend to wear to this particular service--which was very true, because I have no clue about such things.

Thus, having said I was planning it, I had the additional motivation to actually wake up, shower, get gussied up, and attend.

This all came to pass, and at 10:20-something I was walking in to the doors (I wasn't sure if it was the right door, but it looked like the best bet) of the Methodist Church in question.

I saw Robin (Jhoneric's sister), her daughter Miranda, Andy, and John (Jhoneric's dad), and I made sure all of them knew Jhoneric was not to know of this trip of mine down the path of going-to-church-ed-ness.

There was something... almost from the time I woke up, really, but intensified once I was actually in the church--there was this something. I'll try to vague that up for you. Or clarify it.

It wasn't like an adventure, and it wasn't like anticipation. I guess it was mostly like... I don't know. Wonder? I don't know. I just had this sense of "Wow, this is not entirely outside my range of experience, but I haven't experienced anything in this range for a long while." That will have to do, but I'm not capturing the feeling.

Anyway, I opt to sit with John, and I read the program--or whatever it's called--and make chit-chat with John.

Alberta (Jhoneric's mom) was the liturgist (and judging by the context, that translates to "person who reads stuff"), and she started the service by saying, "Welcome home."

Now, promise me you'll read on even if you think I'm a total bastard after this next paragraph.

Without even a millisecond's thought, my brain said, "Oh, jeez, "welcome home", whatever."

And I didn't think anything of that reaction. It made perfect sense. I'm a cynical person. I know this.

Then the pianist started playing some song, and that was the end of the ball game. I don't think my brother Eddie is right--I don't think songs make people cry, but I do think music has it's own special key to everyone's heart, and it has a way of getting to places words alone cannot reach.

Yeah, okay, stupid, perhaps. But I hope you get the idea of what I mean.

There I was, crying, but trying real hard not to be loud about it. First of all, I didn't know WHY I was crying, so I didn't want to draw attention to myself, in case someone should ask. Secondly, can you imagine being John, sitting next to me, and suddenly I'm a basket case?

Part of it was me realizing that what Alberta said was... well, I mean true, but I don't like that word for what I mean, so... I don't know what I mean.

It was like someone in some foreign land said, "Welcome home," and just as I'm thinking "whatever", they open the door and right there is everything I've ever loved--most of which I thought I'd lost. I guess I mean like something that feels like finally coming home where you least expected it. But again, I'm saying it wrong. It's great that I'm so good with words, eh?

Anyway, I'm leaking out my eyes, hoping John isn't noticing and wondering if I'm more insane than usual. And prayers are the worst, because I instinctively close my eyes out of childhood habit, and when I open them, all this backed-up tearage comes running down my face.

I wanted to run out... or walk out in a "oops, I left the oven on... be back in a jiff" sort of way, but John was on one side, and... I can't remember who was on the other side. But I couldn't just slip out without people maybe glancing at my face and thinking, "Ah, nervous breakdown. How nice."

I kept wondering if there was a park nearby. I just wanted to get outside and breathe and try to come to grips with whatever had come over me, and maybe do so in a park sitting where I could sorta... collect my thoughts.

And, in TV terms, what was going through my head was from Season 6, Episode 22 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Willow, who was evil at the time, suddenly got a burst of magic that allowed her to feel what everyone was feeling, and she says, "It's too much... it's too much."

Seriously, folks, this was in the first 10 minutes or so.

As you may have guessed, when it came time to sing, I was worthless. Less singing and more croaking.

Anyway, when it came time for the message/sermon/what-have-you, I was maintaining a bit better.

Here's what I have to say about that part: If it's par for the course, I'm thinking I'm going to like this church. I won't go into the details here, in case Andy should decide to publish his collected what-have-yous, but the points that stuck in my head are: 1) Love is all you need. 2) It's not your love to give, just allow it to be given through you.

I would love to repeat the whole thing, but I didn't memorize it, and I've already gone on way too long here.

By the time the whole thing was over, I was less emotional and more about figuring out what happened to me.

Oh, and I knew I had to tell Jhoneric as soon as I got home, because I knew I wanted to come back... so, the sooner I got that over with, the better.

I didn't discuss what happened with JEC, but I did want to discuss it with SOMEONE. I had no idea who or when. I had a concert to perform in that late afternoon (more on the concert soon, I promise), so I couldn't bring it up to Tricia at their place--since I wouldn't be there. I wanted to talk to Patrick about it, but he ended up not working on Monday night. I was going to talk to Lyndsey about it, but by the time I got around to it Tuesday night at their place, Damien had gotten home, and I didn't think I could tell the tale for the first time to an audience of two.

Also, I've so firmly established myself as anti-church to so many people, I didn't want to have to deal with that aspect of the conversation. I spent a good part of my alone-time this week trying to figure out what that was all about.

Tonight (or this morning, I guess) after work, I just decided to talk to Patrick about it. So now I can share it with anyone on the internet who happens to stumble across it.

I'm going tomorrow... er... today. I'm hoping I'm not overwhelmed again. I'm hoping it's not as full of surprises--the internal emotional kind, I mean.. Hope springs eternal. Hope Springs, Indiana.

Wish me luck.


Peggy Wooden said...

Good luck.

I'm not a church-goer, but have had similar emotional responses to "churchy" stuff. I think it's the music--for me, anyway. But I think it's great if you believe it's more than that.

I still firmly believe that religion is so personal and private that no two people in the pews have the same exact views or feelings. Go for it, and get what you can out of it! Being "touched" is not a bad thing.

Vieta said...

Good Luck
Really good to hear about a feel good! Please keep us updated, wishing happy and peace all over you.

PS, But don't lose your cryptic satire. I would miss that.

Andy B. said...

I'm going to start calling myself "the preacherizer" now. See you soon!
Andy B.

johneric said...


Peggy Wooden said...

Is "johneric" the same person as "jhoneric"--or is he perhaps an evil twin??

I think we should all get over the "grossness" of this thing and be supportive of Mark in his quest for spiritual peace. Don't you?

Andy B. said...

Yeah, what Peggy said!
By the way, what's gross exactly?
- The Preacherizer