Monday, July 07, 2008

Crashing Through the Barriers

“If you say a bad word again Debbie, the devil will come crashing out of the floor and drag you down to Hell with him!” This is what I heard from my parents and sisters while growing up in order to keep me in line. It was embedded in my brain that if I were to curse, the horns of the devil would come crashing up through the hard wood floors and suck me into a fiery pit of hell. It scared me to death. I was taught to say “please” and “thank you”, with each social interaction. I was taught to be polite and courteous. Their fear tactics pushed me in a better direction as far as my manners went. Of course, during my teen years, I realized that some curse words were inaudible to the devil. He never came crashing through the floors to grab me, nor did I ever see his horns coming through the plywood. Maybe this “devil theory” is just the same as the Santa Clause lie. Who knew? I didn’t know the truth anymore. The evening I recognized dad through the funny Santa Clause suit that didn’t fit him very well, made me reevaluate my entire outlook on being good for the rest of the year. Were they all plots to get my siblings and me to be good? Or did they want us to have precious memories full of excitement, as well as fear? For a long time I didn’t understand it. As kids, we’re brought up believing in silly fairytales and made up stories in order to bribe us at times, like for instance, the tooth fairy. I remember my mother trying to convince me to go to sleep. “If you don’t go to sleep, then the Tooth Fairy won’t come to put a dollar under your pillow to replace your tooth.” Even if I had to fake sleeping, it worked. I was in bed and to her knowledge, fast asleep.

Being brought up with “fairytales” and fake characters to enhance our holidays were fun regardless, and even looking back, I don’t have any resentment on mom and dad for fooling me. They did it to make my holiday much better, instead of just looking forward to the relatives that would come shuffling over from wherever and bore me half to death. But now what? No Santa Clause, no Easter Bunny-----now this Jesus guy? What’s His story? So, my mom took me to CCD classes as well as church and I learned all about the wonderful magic that took place on Christmas and Easter. Even as young as I was, I wanted to know why that story wasn’t embedded in my head, but rather some silly story about a fat guy in a red suit squeezing down the chimney seemed like a better story to cram down my throat. I guess I’m not the only one who went through these “little lies”. I’ll get over it eventually. I hope.

If you think about it, we believed it so much that we even went to bed before midnight and hoped that Santa would come down the chimney and give us presents! We were so happy in the morning; full of anticipation and excitement that we couldn’t contain ourselves, when the reality of it was: mom went to the mall and bought everything. Sure it was generous, but who woulda’ thunk? We were young and believed what we were taught.

So what about religion? What about what we’re taught after Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? Do you think a lot of people have a hard time believing Christianity due to different ways people are brought up? There are so many different twists and turns and ‘this is a sin but this isn’t’ and ‘don’t do that, but do this’ type of ruling. Who and what are we to believe? We’ve heard “stories” all too well, but what about God? Is he some fake entity up in the sky watching us, as Santa was the big fat man in the North Pole? I can see how some people are atheists. Other theories and beliefs cater to the thought of believing in any religion is a way to simmer down our fears about death. Do you think that may be the case? Do you think that people made up “an afterlife” just to set aside their fear of dying? It does kind of make sense, until you put 100% faith into something you know is “true for you”. Who is God and how do we hear from Him? Some say He’s everywhere. Some will tell you He’s up in heaven listening to every single word. I believe He’s all, but most of all, He’s the one that resides inside of your heart-----if you let Him.

Madelene told me a prayer to say when I feel defeated. It’s actually part of a scripture.

“Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4(KJV)

At first, I said, “What?” I had no idea what this meant, until days later after praying and meditating, it just clicked. He (God) that is in me (in my heart) is greater than he (the world or in a sense, the devil) that is in the world. (which evil is everywhere in this world.)

So each time I feel emotionally beaten down, I say that little prayer, and my worries and anxiety lessens. I wanted to share it with you just in case you needed some comforting words while you’re stressed out or worried about something. Maybe you feel emotionally beaten up and brokenhearted over something… Whatever it may be, try saying those words a few times, meditate on them and then see how you feel afterwards.

This Sunday, I’m holding a “spiritual brunch” at my condo for the LGBT community. I wanted them to have a “safe” place to talk about what they believe in. The only fear I truly have, is that it may come down to a debate, because for myself and for others who are attending, they are strictly Christian who believe solely in the trinity, and I do have others that are attending who also practice other religions, because a lot of the gay and lesbian community have bottlenecked themselves out of fear into the world of Unitarianism and Wiccan. I’m not saying that these two religions are bad---I just wonder if they flocked to them out of fear, since every single one of these people were Christians first. Did other Christians deter them from their faith initially? I hope the brunch goes well, because it would be nice for them to all get together and share what they believe in. If you’ve read any of my earlier posts about Christianity, you know how a “healthy debate” can turn into a hairy situation. Let’s just hope the devil doesn’t come crashing out of the floors to drag us all down.

Wish me luck!