I felt so strange. It had been a strange week. Watching the all day coverage of a hearing that was sure to have long term ramifications, that dredged up old memories and feelings, had made me feel confused and sad.
I was so glad to have lunch scheduled the next day with my friends. They are the kind of friends that always make me feel better about everything. But I left lunch feeling even stranger. One had been in a car accident and another had taken a serious fall. I had not known about either event, although they had happened a few weeks before.
Hearing the story of the car wreck reminded me of my own wreck 9 years ago. Hearing about the fall reminded me when I fell and busted out my front teeth. I didn’t want to remember either.
As we left the restaurant, I felt that I wanted to bubble wrap my friends until we were together again. Life can change so quickly and I need these friends, I rely on them to once a month bring me back around from whatever craziness I have been busy with. I left feeling stranger still.
I had to drive down Highway 280 to buy a gift and as I passed over I-459, a truck swerved into my lane and into the side of the truck in front of me. I was far enough behind that I was able to stop as the truck in front of me was punted off to the shoulder of the road.
I only felt odder and less safe when I was finally able to continue on my way.
The sermon yesterday was about healing. After my strange feelings of the week before, I wasn’t sure if this was what I needed to hear. Thinking about healing made me feel even stranger. I have to say that the idea of going up to the front of a church, being anointed with oil, and being healed seems far fetched to me.
It made me think of when I was invited to a friend’s church as a child. There was an altar call that included people rolling in the aisles, speaking in tongues and crying for healing. Having not grown up in a church, I thought this was what every church must be and I’ll be honest, it scared me!!
So when our minister finished his sermon and offered the chancel rail for people to come down to be prayed over, I stayed put. At first, no one moved. And then people began to line up. I guess if you think about it, everyone has something they want to be healed from-physical illnesses, mental issues, addictions, even just weird weeks like the one I had experienced.
As I watched the people file past me, I began to feel so much emotion, pain, and confusion. It seemed to swirl in the air around me and seep down into my soul.
It reminded me of years ago when I had gone in to church, happy and carefree. I was by myself for some reason, so I sat on the other side of the sanctuary from our usual spot. I like to see things from a different perspective, so when I go to church alone I take the opportunity to change things up.
I sat behind a lady with graying hair. I didn’t think I knew her, but as the service began I realized that I did know her name and had seen her around before. As I sat there, an overwhelming feeling of sadness came over me. Now, I had not been sad at all. In fact I had been in a very good mood when I walked to church. But the sadness seemed to hit me in waves and I could not understand why.
After a short time, I realized the sadness seemed to be pouring off of this woman I barely knew that was sitting in front of me. She wasn’t crying or doing anything to suggest sadness, I just felt it.
As the service progressed, it was announced that this lady’s mom had died during the previous week. I was overcome with emotion for her and although I had never really lost anyone close to me at that time, I could feel what it must be like to lose someone that close to you. It kind of scared me that I had felt such a strong connection and such strong feelings from someone I really didn’t know.
People kept walking by me yesterday as they headed to the altar. Almost no one in my area of the church had gotten up, yet the lines kept growing with people hoping to feel some sort of comfort and healing. And the feelings continued to hit me over and over.
For a moment I thought I was going to have to get up and leave, the feelings were too overwhelming. I had no idea how I would explain leaving to my family who already think I’m nuts! So I sat there, tears welled up in my eyes, my chest thumping and my head ready to explode.
And then it all stopped. A calm came over me that I cannot explain. All of the emotion, all of the noise in my head, all of the fear and pain I felt coming off of the people lined up in the aisle beside me just disappeared. The tears in my eyes dried up and the tightness in my chest went away.
I realized that everyone in that church had something to heal, whether we got up or not. And that we are all in this together. We long to find something that will take away the memories that can consume us, the fear of the future that scares us, the issues we are trying to juggle and the people in our lives who cause us grief and pain. We all have something that we wish we weren’t doing or something we wish we did more often or better. We all fall short, we all wish for more.
Mixed in all of that pain though, we all have hope.
The emotions I feel from others sometimes feel like a curse (or insanity!) but in those moments when I connect with someone’s feelings, I realize that I am not alone. That we are all out there struggling, hoping, wandering and searching. No matter how much we try to portray the perfect life on social media, or keep our seats when called to step forward, we all have something we are working on, struggling with, going through.
In those moments it is nice to know that we are not alone and maybe someone out there shares our pain. That in all of the battles we fight each day, the problems we face and the trouble we see, there is hope. There are moments of calm, peace and sharing, even if no words are spoken. Maybe that sharing and hope is what will heal us.