Are you there, God? It’s me, Goddess

So I don’t want this blog to turn into any more of an existential crisis than it already is, but it was my second week at church, and I’m not quite finding that sense of belonging that I thought would be instant and maybe even imminent.

Today’s message was on marriage and compatibility and understanding our differences and learning to find common ground. Which I guess I could apply to other relationships in my life, but right now, I’m just crabby about the concept because I feel like I’m always the one making the compromises and, frankly, I’m sick of it.

These days, I do things to avoid repercussions — avoiding an argument, dodging a multi-layer guilt trip, escaping somebody looking at me with sad eyes because I’m not the person they expect that I should be. Moreover, I am trying so hard to retain/generate things that make me happy (or would make me happy) and, yet, the feeling that what little shred of sanity I can cling to is ONLY important to me.

Perhaps the most interesting part of today’s message is that women in particular either feel like we’re “not enough” or else we’re “too much.” We’re not pretty/skinny/motivated enough some days and other days we’re too career-focused/self-involved/emotional. They said that men would rather be alone than feel inadequate, and yet women don’t seem to know how NOT to feel inadequate sometimes.

For me, I feel inadequate in this church setting. I’ve gone twice (three if you count the day I came as it was ending) and I have yet to feel any sort of connection to it. Maybe it’s that I’ve spent my life as an agnostic as well as someone who occasionally sticks her nose in a spellbook to figure out how to bring about good things, but I feel like a fraud if I call myself a Christian.

And I couldn’t be at a better church for someone like me — to say it’s not your typical hellfire-and-brimstone approach is an understatement. But I still feel lost. The friend who recommended it, well, I have yet to run into at this place, which I’m almost taking as a sign that I’m basically just going and hanging out somewhere for the sake of killing time.

And while we’ve never made plans to run into each other, I figured I’d at least connect to some side of my spirituality somewhere along the line. But I haven’t, not yet. I’m going to have to miss next week’s session, so if I know me, I probably won’t get up the motivation to go back in two weeks or so.

I feel like I’m going as an escape. That I can have 90 uninterrupted minutes of “me” time — two hours if you add the driving time. And if that’s the case, why not just go to a coffee shop instead?

There’s a mixer for the new people tonight, which I’m skipping. I didn’t plan to skip it. It is still part of my “carving out ‘me’ time” plan to get to know these people I’m sitting next to each weekend. But my time is being demanded elsewhere, and if it saves me a guilt trip or 20 to stare at them like they want me to, then I guess that’s what I have to do, to get some goddamned peace.

I thought I was ready to start my spiritual journey. I really did. But a part of me is wondering whether I’ll ever be ready, because right now I need some guidance and I thought this was the way to go about getting it, but I don’t know. Somehow, I feel more lost than ever when I look up at the sky and wonder whether anyone really is listening.

The real reason I’m annoyed at feeling like I have to miss tonight’s event is because I don’t think I’m going to find God in the sermons. I think I’ll find Him through involvement, interaction, action.

I’m about as well-adjusted as I’m going to get for the time being — but a part of me misses being involved in the non-profit sector because at least I was helping people, from time to time. I don’t get much in the way of that kind of personal satisfaction anymore. Maybe I need to blow the dust off of my fund-raising skills and do what comes naturally instead of (just) forcing myself to show up and not really singing along.

But what I have to wrestle with, when I look at it that way, is why I’m more eager to reach out and connect with perfect strangers than the ones looking right in my face for some level of compassion.

One Lonely Response to Are you there, God? It’s me, Goddess

  1. Tiff :

    If you’ll indulge me for a minute in religion-talk….

    You’re kind of being unfair to church. Expecting an instant sense of belonging or connection is like hitting the gym once a week for two weeks and wondering why you haven’t lost 10 pounds.

    Church isn’t there so that God can throw some answers into your brain after a couple of weeks of attending. Church is there so that a bunch of people, who all practice more or less the same faith, can practice that faith in community periodically. Church is but one small part of a much larger lifestyle of religious practice, and it is from THAT larger lifestyle, attitude, whatever, that people find their answers.

    You know me, I’m not going to be up your ass that you should keep going, or preach to you that you ought to be praying x times per day, and reading the Bible every day, and all that stuff. But I WILL say that only pursuing $FAITH_PATH_OF_CHOICE when you want something is probably not going to get you the answers you seek.