Thursday, February 10, 2005

My rise to power

There was a time in my life when I actually equated the “Light of Christ” with uncertainty and despair. You see, I was raised in the Pentecostal environment where the common practice was to be more concerned about how others were living their lives than how you were maintaining your relationship with God. If you had an issue with your self-esteem, you were certain to attend every Church event and always show up early, for if anyone made the mistake of entering the Church after services had begun, they became the sole focus of every eye in the building until well after they were seated and the Reverend’s return to sermon demanded to be heard. If someone just didn’t show up for services, the good people of the congregation (at the very least, their stewards) fell all over themselves to be the first to show up at the missing person’s doorstep because they absolutely had to know what was going on in everyone else’s life… and any excuse to pry was good enough. (We feared you were taken ill, or having a better time than we were).

The energy that surrounded me (and all my friends) was that of not being worthy. That energy permeated every aspect of Church life, and the only people immune from it were the Reverend and his Family… and his chosen stewards (which would be anyone capable of competing for his power). Those who dared to resist conforming soon became the focus of such a level of intense gossip that they either fell quickly back into place or they left the Church to worship elsewhere. Needless to say, the need for gossip was ongoing, and actually seemed to take on a life of its own even when there was no need.

I turned away from that environment at the age of fourteen, with the intention of willingly burning in Hell for eternity upon my demise.

When I became forty years of age, my Mother (the only parent I had ever known, and the absolute anchor in my life) unexpectedly passed away, and I became a person completely without purpose or direction. No previous situation could have prepared me for the depth of isolation I would experience for the few months following her death. It was indescribable anguish, and it completely emptied me out.

My life was about to change in ways I could never have imagined.

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