They always told me that some day I would understand. That seemed to be the only response to any religious inquiry my young mouth could ask, as though that was the only answer my young mind could comprehend. That someday the sun would shine down upon my shadowy doubt and the small buds of curiosity would bloom into sudden knowledge – because I had lived more years.
I grew up in a Pentacostal church, the kind you see on late night television, where the pastors and the congregation run around singing and yelling praises to the Lord. They speak foreign tongues and use their hands and words as swords so that those who are willing may be “slain in the Lord.” I was eleven when my curiosity finally compelled me to walk to the front of the church. The floor was littered with weeping and praying people – a battle ground. I wondered what it must feel like to be so overwhelmed with the spirit. Soon, I was surrounded by several pastors and men who proceeded to pray for me. The praying grew lauder and soon they were shouting, some in tongues and some using words that I thought I could understand. They had their hands by my face and my forehead. “PRAISE THE LORD!”
It was overwhelming. I felt my breath start to grow short and my head start to spin and, in all the chaos, all I could do was laugh, but then my laughter became so hysterical that it was sobbing and then my sobbing was so powerful that I collapsed. I laid on the floor crying, wishing I could go back to the laughing part. The pastor covered me in a blanket and moved on. I wasn’t sure when it was supposed to be over or when I was supposed to move again, so I stayed on the floor for a half hour or so. My mother was overjoyed: I had been “slain in the spirit of the Lord and Savior.”
I didn’t understand. What had happened? What was supposed to come of it? Anything good? I was told that one day I would understand.
I’m older now and I have experienced many things in my life: love, happiness, sadness, and overwhelming anxiety. You know, the kind of anxiety that comes from chaos and confusion. I was told that some day I would understand, and now I do.