i realize now that this was not the message of my church, a United Methodist Church. it was a country church but it was a Methodist Church. this message this idea was drilled into me because of me because i waded the narrow stream between the Methodists and the Baptists. because in all its awfulness, religion was exciting. HE might kill me at any moment. God certainly tightened every nerve. i was on high alert ready to spring up spring up on well and make me whole.
i was a very intense very impressionable very scared very dark little girl. i needed something i never got and i have never gotten beyond it. and what i was given was this man and his father and i was showered over and over with blood and never felt clean or whole only shot through with holes.
i was the thing. it was me. i was the girl the idealist the zealot the drowned. i was ripe for dogma for fear for absolutes even though the budding logic in me wrestled with the holes in the theology when i was a little girl. i dragged the big Bible out to the front yard and argued theological points with my hardcore Baptist aunts. when i shook the preacher's hand after church i often asked questions about the sermon. i argued with the preacher at the Baptist church camp i attended. and i went down to the altar over and over and over and over and over and over and over, trying to get clean, trying to escape the guilt that was with me with everything i did.
for i was dirty and nasty and wrong and ugly. and in my core i still believe it. i am wrong. i deserve punishment for my sins.
i wrote yesterday about the student i hurt. i didn't do it deliberately. i have, i hope, learned a valuable lesson from the experience. but the guilt is terrible, the ache of it the swelling chest of it. and knowing that there is some part of it that is me me me please love me don't hate me i will do anything to make it okay part of it was that girl that girl hidden inside a purse filled with hard nuts and stones flailing her arms. or something like that. guilty. desperate.
when we were in our Education for Ministry class monday night, a woman told us how she came to God to Jesus how she was raised without church without any notion of God how she came to him it them on her own, how the Bible saved her life, how Jesus healed her for she was broken and recognized her brokenness but when she told her story i realized that i will NEVER can NEVER feel about Jesus the way she does. because, as our leader said, i was spiritually abused. so was Dale and Jennifer and Justin. the others in the class don't have this background don't have this stinking oily hole in their chests. because some of them were raised in the Episcopal church because some of them were raised with nothing much of God because some of them just never got the memo.
Dale is very logical and reasonable, far more than most people and i attribute a lot of this to raw intelligence. and he is kind so very kind. but he does not carry this guilt. he sloughed it off, at least most of it. he tells me, don't feel guilty. it does nothing. either do something or don't do something but don't feel guilty. move on. i hear him i hear him i hear him i hear him. but the guilt the oily hole in my face is still there.
how dare they how dare my mother how dare they do this to me to us to those most vulnerable and sincere. how dare my mother read me the stories tell me to get saved show her pride in me how good what a good girl you would never touch yourself your dirty self you would never tease anyone EVER you would never let the black flies in your mouth out you would never harden your heart how dare she.
not the God is groovy God is good stories but the babies drowning in the flood stories and the blood the knife to Issac's throat and the baby split in two and the cross and Jesus why did they dwell on the pain the anguish the blood the innocence of the man who took on the sins of my dirty dirty nasty self. it could have just been love.
i could have been one of those kids who didn't listen who didn't connect who didn't much give a shit. but i wasn't because i'm not.
would i have been so bound up in religion in God in please be good if i weren't mentally ill, if this disease hadn't been crouching in me squatting like a toad in me already swelling up my head even then?
i cannot answer i cannot know i suspect the answer would be "no."
i am tired now of this. i will read this to my therapist and we will talk and unearth the purse of stones. perhaps. i don't want to dive into the dark. but i will.