Stop the Music
Throughout my life, I have had a hard time fitting in, especially in the church. I sometimes wonder how many other people out there have the same social graces or lack thereof.
When I was younger, I was dropped off at our youth group building. I walked into worship service late. Those were the days of patchouli baths and Marlboro reds.
There was a girl leading worship that was my age. She stopped singing and said over the microphone, “Pew, what is that smell?” She asked others if they smelled it. She said it was like weird herb cigarettes. I was seriously embarrassed. It did not instantaneously break my bodies craving for nicotine, and all the other chemicals in cigarettes. It did not turn my lungs bubblegum pink. It did not inspire me to work harder at my addiction, for her well being.
My ears were on fire. I yelled out, that it was probably the essential oils that I used, or the cigarette that I had smoked. I ran out to the parking lot and found our car, so that I could disappear and cry. Eventually the whole youth group, including the leader, came outside and apologized to me. They asked me to return, but I was too embarrassed. I already knew that I wasn’t good enough for any of those perfect kids. I should have just shrugged it off. They are just as human as I am. I do have to wonder, how many other “smelly” people go to the church, and then get told about it.
This was a pretty small youth group. This is just one experience. This is just my side of the story.
Since then, there have been more fun experiences than I can count on both of my hands. This is from Christians, from different denominations and churches. I cannot say that I have travelled the world and tried every church available.
Sometimes, an issue would be something as minute as my perception of a scripture. There were times, when this was summed up to the influence of evil spirits or the devil himself. This is highly annoying. Usually this wasn’t from leadership, but from congregation members in different settings. I still haven’t figured out how, getting accused of being devilish is supposed to help someone.
I tried to go back to church sporadically, after I had matured a little. When I had moved far away from home. I respected the leaders. I did not interrupt services. I gave. Sometimes I tried to sit by people, and was told an empty seat was taken. I tried to be nice to others. I tried to smile a lot, because I knew that Christians were always supposed to be happy. I still didn’t feel a great connection in the church. I was very lonely. I tried to get involved, but still felt like I was riding solo most of the time. I wondered what the point was, if I was just going to be rejected anyway.
This makes me wonder what people like me are supposed to do. I’ve yet to find the magic wand that makes everything instantaneously perfect.
I know that if I have a recurring problem, I cannot always point the finger. I might need to take a deeper look inside. In the process of growing though, is there anywhere that I would be welcome? I wonder if there are others like me that don’t feel welcome in the church. Maybe we smell bad. Maybe our faces are demonic or something. Maybe our clothes aren’t 21st century, American-Christian enough. Not sure. I wonder where we demon people are supposed to go.
I also wonder what exactly it is that deems us worthy of a public outing. Especially by the members that wouldn’t otherwise have much to do with us. Maybe we haven’t attained the level as perfection that they have yet, on our life’s journey. Maybe they are lucky that they have not had to walk in our shoes.
The treatment is humiliating. It doesn’t solve problems. It also makes me think that going to a church, or at least some of the social circles, is not the way to go if I want to be encouraged. There are some churches that I feel safe watching from home, every once in a while.
I am at a point, where my hands are in the air. If I wanted to be part of an elite group, I would go join a prestigious country club. I probably wouldn’t even fit in there. I just keep striving for a better life. I don’t hate or try to hurt other Christians. They have just as much right to life as I do. Sometimes I am embarrassed of the word. Most of them don’t even want to be around me for too long anyway. The few beautiful ones that I have met, have been in and out of my life like a shooting star. In my case, that has been most of my relationships though.
If I say I am a Christian, or that I believe in a God to non-Christians; I usually get dirty looks. OR, they do the same finger pointing as the other side. I feel like I am looking down the barrel of a gun from both angles. Uncle I say! Uncle!
Thank God for the few kindred weirdos that I have in my life.