Faith Resounding

I am Agnostic. I am theistic. I am a believer that one cannot know the existence of god(s) but I have a slight feeling that there probably is something bigger than us out there. I don’t pretend to know if that existence is benevolent or not, or in what form it may take.

This is much different than Atheism- the belief that there is no god.

But today I went to church.

I had recently gotten a kind of tug, as I like to say, towards faith. I have wanted to explore my possibilities more deeply for a while now, but Columbia, Missouri doesn’t provide as many sects as I would like.

My family is Catholic. I’ve been through Catholic religious education up until the point where conformation was put on the table, and that was around the same time I was taught by Mrs. Lori Buatte about World History in grade 8. There was a religion section. My eyes were opened to a few more ways to heaven, and a few different versions as well.

If you are going to condemn me for these beliefs, I suggest you end your reading here. I’m not opening this blog up to that discussion today–maybe another time.

Anyway. A new friend I made mentioned that there was a church she wanted to go to here in Melbourne that is world-renowned. I said ok. She was surprised by this, but took me at my word. It was a sincere word.

It was when we saw the seven or so people in turquoise colored shirts with balloons on their wrist that I realized maybe this wasn’t the place for me. I tend to shy away from what I call gimmicky churches. The big flashy lights, the new-age music, the swanky lyrics and everything that goes along with it often strikes a chord in me that asks “how much is the electric bill here, and how much of that could be going to something useful?” It’s nothing against the people, it’s nothing against the Word. Some people like mixed veggies, and some people insist they be served in separate bowls.

I guess in the receiving sense, I’m a traditionalist. I think even more than that I hate the feeling of being vulnerable. It’s why I struggle with anxiety so much. Being in an overwhelming sensory environment as well as an overwhelming emotional environment kind of got to me.

I started crying in the middle of church.

Luckily, I think most probably just took it for being “full of the Holy Spirit” or something.

If you’ve never had a panic attack, I will do my best to describe what this felt like. It wasn’t a full on panic, but only near it.

It felt like massive hands were squeezing the toothpaste tube of my chest up through my throat, which was choking back tears I wanted to refuse to cry. I nearly did. I held myself to the ground, reminding myself the scene it would cause if I tore out of the building like my senses were demanding me to. A couple of tears slid out, but it was when my very caring companion called the tears out for what they were that they came barreling through like they owned me. They did, for a minute or two. I was embarrassed, and tried to quickly compose myself.

She would later say that I was not an ugly crier. A compliment I took quite surprised, because I always thought I looked dreadful crying.

Emily Dickinson wrote a poem that my freshman year of college I memorized, and has stayed with me since.

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I, just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along.

I’ve always been one to believe that my relationship with the force that controls my life, if there is one, is mine alone. It is a private vulnerability I prefer to keep to myself.

However, to maintain what I mentioned earlier, in the exploratory sense. My friend and I did discuss afterwards seeking out other religious worships to find. She is a Christian. I admire her open mind greatly.

So, it will be my aim, before I leave this Southern country, to make it to a Synagogue, a Mosque, a Hindu temple, and a Buddhist monastery. I wanted to visit a Shinto shrine, but I was unable to locate one in the region.

One day, I may happen upon faith, or it will happen upon me. I’m open to it, I just still haven’t been encapsulated by one just yet.

Plus, I still don’t want to be overly disappointed when my ghostly-self watches men shovel dirt back into my grave.