Sometimes I get a feeling that is so strong, I have to follow through on it, and this past week was soooo full of moments like that. The PhD got such an earful this morning–I talked for 35 minutes straight, which never happens. Even in therapy, I prefer listening to talking. This blog is a rambling as I get, and as you can tell, I’m not so talkative right now. Except today. I’m rambly as hell today. God, this weekend was all over the place, and right now I am bouncing off the walls with serious excitement. I even cleaned my room yesterday. I am . . . I think the word I’m looking for is happy.
Back to this last week.
Thursday, some dude followed me home off the freeway. Long story short, I flipped out about 10 hours after the fact (I’m normally pretty solid in a crisis). On the way to work, I stopped at the gas station and talked to a cop. He advised me to put all of the non-emergency police lines in my phone, which I did the minute I got to work.
On Friday, I had the distinct honor of using one of those non-emergency numbers. Without Mr. Stalker and Mr. Police Officer, I would have been at a loss as to how to handle the situation on Friday (legal details pending, so no further public info).
Also on Friday, I had an anxiety attack that led to me to contacting Jenna for the first time in months. She talked me down, and told me that her daughter-in-law passed away a month and a half ago–concurrent timing with another major anxiety attack I had.
The anxiety attack led to somewhat restless sleeping, with an edge of dreaming. I dreamt of meeting a familiar, friendly face at work and hearing the worst and best pick-up line of my life, “So I met this girl who’s kinda weird. . . .” Dream Me definitely went for it.
Saturday was a 1-year-old’s birthday party, hosted by the guy from my dream–sorta. Same face, not the same person, if you understand what I mean. I recognized him instantly, but I don’t do the smoking thing, or his general personality (nice fellow, not my type). Weirdly, he and I met once 3 years ago for the span of maybe an hour. That’s it. The moment he stood to shake my hand was surreal. (A little too close to actual precognition for my taste. The PhD said I might be hyper-sensitive to Energy.)
Moving right along.
Sunday morning, preparing for work, I had the distinct feeling I needed, needed, needed to wear church clothes. After work, I went home and chilled with Mom for a bit. I dozed off, and she told me that I should abandon the church idea and go to bed. I considered the idea, but the more I considered not going to church, the stronger the feeling got that I had to be there. Not for church, per se, but for people.
Mom’s solution: go for the intermission between first and second service, talk to the people I needed to see, and go home. I found the compromise perfect.
I showed up at the church that meant the most to me of any church I’ve ever attended. It’s the church I attended through high school, the church that stretched my intellectual horizons, where I sang alto in the choir and earned the first physical paycheck of my life. I showed up 5 years after leaving the church and the faith, and no one recognized me.
Mrs. G welcomed me to the church, and invited me to have coffee while waiting for second service to start. I gave a somewhat dismissive shrug and wandered in the general direction of the coffee. I ducked behind an off-kilter pillar and decided to watch the people streaming out of first service. I saw the 2010-2011 quarterback for my high school football team. I saw the choir director’s son. Miss Sarah walked by to welcome me on my first visit to the church, and gave me the most awkward handshake of 2015.
Then the people parted and there, in a recognizable pair of shades, was Frodo.
Brief backstory: Frodo is a nickname I gave him after seeing a picture from his junior high days, and his massively curly hair. His younger sister (who is 2 years older than me) was my best friend for the course of the summer between freshman and sophomore year of college. We were all members of the same college bible study at this church, which eventually fell apart due to social issues (everyone but a spare few got married and the dynamic changed) and the church not being particularly fond of our interpretation of Scripture. Frodo was like me–he dug into the philosophy and took joy in discovering a new perspective or interpretation. The last time I saw him was probably at his sister’s wedding. That was 2010.
After watching half-confused members of my past walk by without a word, Frodo greeted me with a genuine smile, a bear hug, and “What are you doing here?” I explained that this was a social call of the Universe’s doing, which he pretty much accepted due to the way he lives his life. Apparently, he spent a couple of years waking up on Sundays, asking Jesus the plan for the day, and Jesus responding, “Eh.” Only a month ago did the answer change to, “We’re going to church.”
We caught up on the gossip (“There might be stuff in the B-building left over from Heidi’s wedding last weekend. . . .” “HEIDI GOT MARRIED?” “Yeah! To Jesse!” “HEIDI AND JESSE?” “I know, right?! No one knew they were together and suddenly they were sitting together in the sermon,” “Ooooooh!” “Right?! And we’re all like ‘Wait–are Heidi and Jesse sitting together in the sermon?’ And then they announced they were getting married like two weeks later”).
(That’s legit the most fascinating thing I heard on Sunday. Also, for those unfamiliar with Baptist churches, sitting together during the sermon [as opposed to sitting with your family] is as good as announcing from the pulpit that you have serious intentions.)
And then, as if the day couldn’t get better, Mr. Dave appeared from the mist. He was the leader of our dissolved college group and the most intellectual Christian I’ve had the pleasure of debating. As wise as he is smart, as funny as he is wise. Standing with him and Frodo, I knew why I had to go to church.
It gets better.
Turns out they attend the same Bible study during second service, but Frodo only started attending last week. Mr. Dave was out of town last week. This week was the very first that both of them were in the Bible study together. Of course, I had to go.
The topic was fascinating–the difference between covenants and contracts. Turns out that the English language does not actually have a word to describe the bond between people entered into a covenant. The closest we get is an amalgam of “mercy,” “love,” “loyalty,” and “kindness.” It was such a fascinating conversation, and I felt the philosophy portion of my brain start going into high gear. I don’t hold with a lot of Christianity–I struggle with the concept of Jesus being anything more than a man–but this. . . . I don’t get this kind of stimulation anymore.
At the end of the Bible study, Frodo and I continued the discussion, which had turned toward taking Communion. True to my nature, I made my argument (“It sounded like they want people on the street to drink the Kool-Aid”) and listened as Frodo rambled through a rebuttal that, after about 3 minutes, hit on my concern (“It’s not like if my friends decide not to take Communion, they’re saying ‘Fuck you, God.’ It’s their choice”). (Also, he really did say that in a church. My rebellious side soared.)
I’ve been on Cloud Nine since Sunday. The PhD, who has repeatedly said I am one of the most philosophically-minded people she’s ever come across, made an interesting point today.
I draw people in. I can think of clear examples beginning when I turned 15. They come in, and initial fascination turns to attraction, and then attraction fades to boredom. That feeling when those people fade away is one of the pillars of my depression. I always, always feel like I’m not good enough to keep them interested.
I explained that to the PhD today, and her reaction sent me into actual speechlessness (not the kind where people say, “I’m speechless,” but the kind where I don’t say a single word because I’m too busy thinking). She said that 1) I’m not boring; 2) my mind works completely differently from most people’s, so the people whose minds are compatible are few and far between. She said be patient. Wait for those people to show up.
Well, I know Mr. Dave’s mind works like mine. I am going to go back. I need to be around people who think like me, who challenge my preconceived notions and force me to look at the world through a different lens. For me, there’s no point to any of this if I can’t expand my mind.
All of that to say, what a freaking weekend.