Dare I write of a taboo subject? A subject we were told never to discuss at parties, at work, or other places where many people are gathered.
Yes, I’m daring myself to discuss religion/spirituality. Not really discuss like a debate or something.
I’m not preaching anything. It’s just my experience of sacredness thus far.
I start out by saying I am jealous of you and your faith — not in a deadly sin way, just generally, not harmfully. I wish I had it.
I know a lot of you practice a faith stronger than the vault at Fort Knox. I admire that.
Faith helps people get through situations that people like me, with scant faith, struggle with.
You are so grounded and your relationship with God is so solid. I envy that. I’m sometimes lost in a world that’s constantly turning.
Not for lack of trying
As a child, my parents and I were in the pews every Sunday. I attended Sunday school and enjoyed it.
One time our teacher said he would give 50 cents to whoever could recite all of the books of the Bible in order.
At the time I thought it’s going to take more than 50 cents for me to do that. I remember the little girl who accomplished this feat. Good for her.
I sat in church the Sunday mornings when the minister performed baptisms. I could see from afar a dark-haired girl, wearing white, seated in the baptismal pool.
The minister covered her nose with one hand. His other hand was placed on the nape of her neck/upper back. Then he would do a complete immersion. She came up dripping wet.
Each time I saw one of these I told myself there was no way I was going to ever do that in front of God and everybody.
I know that’s part of baptism’s purpose — but for me, just no way I could do it.
This is pretty bad. In my early 20s, I decided I wanted to be baptized. No rhyme or reason. I just thought I should do it.
I researched denominations. How I did this pre-internet, I have no idea. Maybe the library and talking with people.
The only reason I chose Presbyterian was they sprinkled you for baptism. I was definitely not onboard for immersion or anything else other than a few droplets of water.
I knew nothing about the Presbyterian doctrine/philosophy — still don’t. I just wanted to be baptized and this was easiest. Saying this now sounds so flip and it’s shameful.
I remember the minister saying that now Jesus has taken up his abode in your heart. I like the way that sounded. Still do.
I understand my mother was baptized in a lake or river or some body of water outside. People stood on the shore watching. I could never have done that.
I enjoy going to church on the extremely rare occasions I go — maybe for a funeral or a wedding. However, I get emotional.
If the church has an organ, I’m a goner. I love organ music — think I’ve mentioned this before.
Many deep down emotions float to the surface when my ears hear the notes and my heart connects with my soul. What a depth and warmth of feeling.
First mental break
I guess maybe on the day of my first mental break I might have had God in the back of my mind.
I had left the downtown office and was heading home. I was sobbing uncontrollably. It was horrible.
I was crying in the elevator on my way out. What to make of myself, this strange new feeling?
I was on a MARTA bus going down Roswell Road. I pulled the cord so the bus would stop in front of Peachtree Presbyterian Church.
I got off the bus and walked across the street. I’m still crying. I’m telling you I had totally lost it.
I ended up in an associate minister’s office. He was a kind man.
He may have been thinking something along the lines of what in the world is going on here (just like I was). We talked for a little while but I don’t remember about what.
Evidently it was around lunchtime. He asked if he could get me something to eat. I said fine. I had no car. He drove us to McDonald’s.
He bought a Big Mac and a Coke for me. I think he had a cup of coffee.
After we finished, he dropped me off at my apartment. By now I had regained composure and no more tears.
Later the tears came back. I called my cousin Jimmy, a father figure to me, in Roswell and talked with him.
He came over and took me to Northside Hospital’s psych ward. You know the rest of the story.
Is volunteer work a form of worship/contribution?
I want to believe so so I will have some feeling of saving grace in my brief time here on earth.
I want to be able to say I made a small, positive contribution.
I hesitate to say much about volunteer work because good deeds are to be kept to yourself.
I have just a small little issue with this verse. I believe I should give without the slightest thought of return, as hard as that is to do.
It is not my intention to do good deeds with the thought of being compensated in some worldly way.
I mean it would be appreciated I guess, but I volunteered as an effort toward an act of kindness and to return a lifesaving favor.
Now that I have given caveats, here are two examples of volunteer work.
After being hit by the car and suffering the brain injury, I felt so indebted that my life was saved — statistics indicated otherwise.
I had an urgency to do something in return for Northside Hospital and Dr. J. Peter Reitt.
I had this same feeling after the breast cancer surgery and reconstruction. I wish I could maintain that feeling all the time.
It’s a feeling of pure gratitude and thankfulness — you’ve probably had it yourself. Unfortunately the feeling fades.
I became a Pink Lady of Northside Hospital’s Women’s Auxiliary.
At the time, Northside was about six stories. I went door to door with the “Cheer Cart” (part of the gift shop).
Each Saturday morning I restocked items in the cart and started along my merry way. I began on the Sixth Floor and made my way down to the First offering the cart’s goods and wares.
The cart had magazines, newspapers, toiletry items, candy, chips, gum, little knickknacks and whatnot, a small stuffed animal or two. Things like that.
Sometimes the patient was the only one in the room. More of the time family and friends were present.
I’d ask if anyone needed anything and would push the cart into the room so they could see what there was.
By the time I got to the Third Floor, I was out of my best-selling item — The National Enquirer.
When I got to the psych ward, I had to remove all sharps before I could enter. Little did I know then one day I would spend a week here — not once, but twice.
It was a gratifying experience.
Georgia Mental Health Institute
It was years after one of my hospitalizations I thought I would like to volunteer here. GMHI was a state mental hospital.
I remember being interviewed by a nice lady. I can see her seated at her desk. I was wearing a dress.
I had on my gold cross necklace with a chip of a diamond. Mother had given it to me years prior.
The lady inquired about my necklace. She asked why I wore it.
I replied, “I wear it to remind myself to be good.” Must have been an acceptable answer because I ended up volunteering there.
I was assigned to work with children. I don’t know how I did it. Their lives were so sad, but children don’t always see it that way.
They suffered from child abuse, neglect, fighting parents, divorcing parents, all sorts of trauma.
The police were their friends. I’ll never forget the time one little boy saw a police car drive up, and he ran to the door to greet the officer.
The little boy knew being with the officer was a safe place. I imagine the child might have craved that feeling.
This is where I was introduced to the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I was told to read this to the children.
I love the story but it is a tad sad. It is not for everyone.
I find it so hard to believe the writer of the book used to do cartoons for Playboy magazine. Holy cow.
Believer or not?
Something has me really stumped about believing. Many years ago, I was watching the news on TV. There had been a fairly serious pick-up truck accident.
At some point, a reporter was interviewing the driver, who had minimal injury to his body. The passenger, his friend, died.
The driver was excitedly saying how it was all thanks to God he survived this terrible accident.
I couldn’t help but ask myself, if God saved the driver, then why wasn’t his friend saved? If God was present, then what happened?
I think it comes to this for me
One of the sayings I hold dear is, “There has to be a god because we have to have someone to say Thank You to.” I just love that.
Not so long ago, I read a blurb from an article online about faith. The guy wrote, “I believe in God, but I don’t know what that means.” Maybe that’s the place I’m in.
Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.❤️
Thank you for reading. Please feel free to leave any kind of comment.
Note: Readers have inquired about the graphics which say Fiddle Faddle. It’s just my way of identifying the drawings I do on my iPad mini. Just for fun!