Monday, December 2, 2013

Going to Church

The fear of God was very real part of my youth. Not only was I afraid of being condemned to hell for my transgressions but I feared hand holding during worship. Church has never felt like a comfortable atmosphere for me. 

One of my dear friends managed to get me in a church over the weekend. I'm not a religious person. I go to yoga and consider myself like tooootally spiritual and stuff, but saviors and saints aren't really my thing. Luckily we weren't there to hear a sermon but to hear him sing. 

I've known Eric since our first day of high school. We met in Spanish class. A very gregarious fellow we hit it off right away. I was really fascinated by him as he moved through campus making his presence known. I always wanted to be noticed but didn't have the confidence to make moves. I think Eric and I fell into the same social circles in the long run because frankly we were painfully unhip. Two nerds who dropped some weight over the years and grew into our adult looks. Essentially we look good now so suck it popular kids. 

Eric has been the only person to get me into a church in the last few years. Sadly for his mother's funeral three years ago, and a fundraiser for a local hospice group this past Sunday honoring his mom. 

The sanctuary he performed in was really beautiful. I hadn't been inside since I was a teen. I'd forgotten how the architecture of a Catholic church can overwhelm you. It may be some mind trickery but I can see how people feel the presence of God. Then I was flooded of memories of being utterly paralyzed with discomfort during Catholic mass in our awkward pimply teen years. 

I think I see God in the rafters.
Taking a deep breath I remembered I didn't have to be subject to that anymore. Furthermore, as an adult I know the power of choice and owning my sweatiness. I'm sure if Jesus is the man they say he is– you know hanging out with hookers– he would've been (would be?) fine with abnormal perspiration. If I were to go to church today I don't think I'd be nearly as uncomfortable as in my youth. The memories though are forever cemented in my memory. 

Going to a Catholic high school meant that a few times out of the year I would be forced to attend mass. Imagine it, a church crammed with about 800 hormonal teenagers. The church was built long ago with no air conditioning. The place would get real toasty. There I am in a hot box essentially, nervous because I'm a teen looking to fit in, and my hyperhidrosis is out of control. I would be swimming in sweat. SO UNCOMFORTABLE.

I quickly memorized the part of mass where you hold hands and say the Lord's prayer. KILL ME. Getting up in the middle of mass to go to the bathroom was my classic move. It was also a bold move considering I could have had a major butt sweat stain. Once I faked being sick to avoid the whole ordeal entirely, and another time wore gloves despite it being about 65-70 degrees out. A not so tactful classmate called me out on it, and I will forever remember my friend piping up on my behalf saying that I was trying to moisturize my hands. What a good friend to make up a lie for me because she saw the look of fear come over me.

I'm curious how others have dealt with this within their own church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or wherever one practices their faith. If you have a story about your experience please share!