Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Desirous of communion

A nice little quote from Quaker Pagan Reflections:

I'm trying to remember in whose blog I read, recently, about a woman who found herself crying in meeting when worship gets deep for her, and I was so glad to read it. She wrote, too, that she wishes she didn't--she said she chooses to sit in the balcony in her meeting so as to be as unobtrusive as possible, and the tears that come make her feel painfully visible. It was freeing to read this, because I feel that way, too. Not always, but often enough I also find tears running down my face. (They were during Beethoven's 9th today, for sure.) And I always feel awkward about it, as if it is some kind of boast of specialness, or posturing for attention.

It occurred to me that it's been a long, long time since I've felt comfortable enough in my skin to allow that kind of reaction to something emotionally powerful. I can't blame it entirely on Lewis, either, though it certainly got worse during that time; it started before I was with him. In fact, I'm not entirely sure when it started.

It's starting to ease, though. Little by little, bit by bit, as I heal. I cried like a little girl over a lovely compliment someone gave me recently, and I can tear up a bit at the sun over the mountains, or a touch of welcome rain, or snugglings from my kitten.

I'd like to get to the point where I can feel that in worship. I don't know if it's possible; Christian or pagan, worship services have generally elicited more eye-rolling than eye-tearing in me. The pagan ones, especially, always felt ... silly, I suppose, though that's not entirely the right word. And I've enough bad history with Christianity (or, at least, people who call themselves Christian) that it's hard to feel comfortable at a Christian service.

At the same time I find myself wanting the Eucharist very, very badly. Is it tacky to say 'I want it so bad I can taste it'? I remember the taste and the feel, the crisp little bit of not-much that took just long enough to melt away that I always chewed, and then wondered if I was supposed to or if I was breaking some obscure point of canon law. But it never felt, never tasted, like communion, like the body and blood of a God made man who gave his life for all of us (which concept I am only now beginning to really understand thanks to some dear friends of mine). It only ever tasted like thin, stale bread, unfilling and unsatisfying.

I want more than that. I wanted more than that, even then, and the lack of it was a lot of why I drifted away from the church. There were plenty of other reasons, mind you; reasons I've mostly worked through in the years since then. But this one? I don't know if it'll change. I want it to, badly.

And it's not that my church experiences have all been without meaning. Christmas Eve services at the church I grew up in were always lovely -- the candles, the singing, all of the energy focused on the return of the light -- I found them very moving. Even in my least-Christian phases I always enjoyed Christmas, and not just because of the presents. The birth of the Son, the rebirth of the Sun, however you wish to put it; it meant, and means, a lot to me. Maybe that experience will help.

I keep not actually going to church, though. I was telling myself it was because I'm usually up late on Saturday night (it's the only day none of the three of us has to get up, so we tend to stay up late the night before) but honestly? I think I'm nervous. Partly that I won't be accepted; I was baptized and confirmed, yes, but I've rather fallen apostate since then and frankly, neither baptism or confirmation meant anything to me. I only went through the motions because my mother wanted me to. Partly, though, it's worry that the experience won't be what I so desperately want it to be, that it'll again be dry, tasteless, unfilling.

I've told the tale before, in my Livejournal: how I wanted to believe, and couldn't find it in myself to do so. It's my Letter of Intent for joining the Order of St. Michael, and I'd locked it so that Lewis couldn't read it. He's got issues with Christianity, it seems, and despite the fact that he's got plenty of friends in the Order, he 'preferred' that I didn't join, because somehow the good people he knew individually became Bad when gathered together as a group of (mostly) Christians. I joined without telling him (his 'prefer' is more 'I will blame the next six months' worth of problems on you not listening to my wishes on this if you join') and only now had the nerve to unlock the thing.

So now? Kinda nervous. What if it doesn't do anything for me...again? What's left to me?


Brian said...

I just discovered your blog (by way of Quaker Pagan Reflections) and I'm going to try to start reading it whenever I get the chance.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

seeking chivalry said...

Hey! Welcome onboard. I've got to admit I'm honoured - I've read about your efforts already, in Quaker Pagan Reflections in fact, and I was truly amazed at both what you and the other Equality Ride folks are doing, and at the responses you've gotten. And so much more to read about it now in your blog!