When I was a child I, like many others, had some rather rough years. I do not think that my particular story is any more dramatic or piercing than any others; except in the fact that to me it is, since it is mine.
Yes, I had some hard times at home; my father made it quite known to me at as a child that I only existed because the birth-control went wrong, and their religion frowned upon abortions. My sister was the perfect, favorite child, who could do no wrong; mother was timid and dominated– afraid to venture out, speak up, or fully come into herself.
Yes, some things were a bit off, but nothing extraordinary… right?
Father was a pastor, and I lived in what I thought was your typical Christian home. He seemed to have a nack with “combating” the supernatural; he and my mother wound-up specializing in counseling people who the church deemed to be demonically oppressed or possessed. They even had a special crucifix that hung on the wall at all times that opened up to reveal an emergency exorcism kit; complete with holy water and all. I got to spend the typical Saturday morning watching Scooby-Doo, or some other cartoon, in the living room while trying to phase out the screams and curses coming from the adjacent room, as mom and dad were casting a demon out of somebody.
I rejected Christianity back then as a child. I saw little evidence of a changed nature in the lives of those Christians around me, and I felt nothing inside of me that spoke up as a witness to a God living inside of me.
Fear however, was inside of me.
The one thing I did get from those creepy-ass years (thanks dad) was an unhealthy fear of the supernatural. I never heard nor saw God, a miracle, an angel, or anything to make me think that something was out there pulling for me. However, I grew up with such a fear of demons, witches, and the devil, that I could no longer sleep at night.
I had no awareness of divine good, but I sure as hell feared evil. To help myself through those times I used my imagination. I had a good imagination; I loved to daydream and draw; I even made up an alter-ego of myself that feared no evil. I would write, draw, and dream away of his many heroic adventures. He wore a mask, he grew up in an ancient small village, he had these little rituals that he would do and trinkets he could use.
Later on in life while visiting an art gallery I stumbled upon a travel exhibit of old masks. For some crazy reason there was a copy of my imaginary hero’s mask there. Unbeknown to me, as a child I instinctively gave him a pretty traditional Shaman’s mask. Intrigued by this I studied the religion some, and came to find other settings, rituals, and items from my childhood stories in there. This intrigues me, but I have no answers for this phenomena.
Having no “real God” to pray to as a child was difficult for me, and many of my problems if confessed to mom and dad would only result in more scorn and rejection. Having nothing else to talk to–I started talking to the moon about things. It was helpful to me, I always loved the moon. It was something that was always there, watching over me; bright and lovely, glowing like a warm smile. I spent many a night out in a field looking up and talking to her.
Her, that’s right–I felt like the moon was a she. I even gave her a name as a kid; I named her Chandra. Funny that now I know that Chandra is the name of a lunar deity in Hinduism. Go figure; and by the way… my astrological sign is Cancer (Moon sign). Another thing that intrigues me, but I have no answers to as of yet.
I wish that I could say that I managed to keep this childhood openness and awareness going throughout my entire life; however, that would be a lie. Eventually I “grew up“, did away with such childish things, and started serving the Lord like my family expected me to. Why? What happened?
I held on to about the age of 17; that was when my girlfriend, whom I loved dearly, tried to kill herself. She had grown up in a very physically abusive home, understandably had some emotional issues over this, and was in recovery from drug abuse when I met her. When we first met we were 15. I stayed with her through many a rough time; loved her; and always believed that our love would see us through all of this.
One night she came home and her mother was high again. Mom beat her, and she went running out the door. Depressed and distraught, she decided to self-medicate to make the feelings go away. She went to a dealers house and he got her high; while she was high, he raped her. She then tried to take her life.
She did not succeed, but she got taken away to some “home” in some other State, and she was not allowed to contact anyone from her previous life–including me.
When I broke down in front of my parents and explained to them what was going on in my life, and the pain that I was going through, that she had gone through, they told me exactly why all this had happened to my girlfriend. They told me that Jesus put me in her life to save her with the gospel of Christ, but since I was selfish and unbelieving I messed the whole thing up. Instead of saving her I dated her. Instead of giving her Jesus, I fell in love with her; I was carnal and slept with her. If I would have acted sooner, she would have not have been raped that night, she would not have tried to take her life, and God would not have had to have taken her away from me.
They told me that not only did I miss my God-given opportunity to help her, but I also made her life even worse; for now she will probably never get saved, healed, or get to heaven; since now she thinks Christians are people like me…
I then repented and decided to enter into the ministry.
It took a while, but I am slowly starting to shake-off all this Christian craziness that my family heaped on me. The guilt and shame goes deep though, and it is hard to break. I do have beliefs that guide me in my pursuit though,
- I do not believe in a literal Christ (who lived, died, rose again); I believe the story was an allegory
- I do not believe in the Devil or demons
- I hope that if there is a Higher Power, it would inspire me to love, heal, have compassion, peace, and motivate me to help others
- I question if I could not also find those very things in myself without a God, if I spent time and energy working on myself, my relationships, and on helping others.
I am trying to reject all the fear and pain; while still maintaining my childhood-instinctive faith. I am trying to talk to the moon again. I am trying to rid myself of the fear of the supernatural. I am trying to awaken my sleeping alter-ego once more for another adventure.
Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up.
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