Harlem

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Church

Published November 12, 2012 by Sandee

Maybe I’ll go to church.  I’ll have Sundays free again because my job ends in December. My family church is a Baptist church in Harlem.  We didn’t go often but when one of us died this is where the funeral would be.  My parents were married there.  It’s where I was christened and baptized.  I went once as a kid with my mom and a woman started hollering, “Yes Jee-susah!  Oh Jeeesus yessuh!”  She ran into the aisle, rolled on the floor and foamed at the mouth.  The church nurses grabbed her and calmed her down from the Holy Ghost.  This scared the shit out of me.  I started hyperventilating.  The service wasn’t full of people like this — thank God!

Nowadays the church discourages this.  Although at one recent service a woman got ‘happy’ and ran laps around the pews.  I laughed my ass off as did others.  But generally the services are more subdued.  The people wear jeans and the minister is intellectual and has a Ph.D.

My dad’s funeral was there and the minister back then appealed to reason.  He spoke in a conversational voice then built up slowly to a fervor.  This minister was why I wanted go again.  But then he died.

I volunteered there feeding the homeless for Thanksgiving once and had heard that the next minister was just as good.  I checked out a service and it was true so I started going regularly.  I was still drinking so a couple of times I was drunk from the night before, crying with my mascara all smeared.  Then I stopped drinking.

Sometimes I felt that the spiritual energy there could levitate the building.  Although ministers are human, I believe that some are vehicles for God and that it’s their job to transmit messages, even while they are flawed the way everyone else is.

At first I thought I’d use church as a placebo.  But basically, I felt that the collective energy all directed likewise would be an effective healing mechanism.  For me having a spiritual advisor works, otherwise I might hear God tell me to do things the way that a cult leader does because I’m demented.

While I appreciate that there are different ways people get in touch with their spirituality, this worked for me.  And I know organized religion has its ‘issues’.  Recently I talked to a man who had a personal spiritual advisor.

Church and praying doesn’t always have the immediate effect on me the way that liquor did.  It seeps slowly into my consciousness and informs some of my actions without me thinking about it.  I’ve even left church feeling fear and negativity. Sometimes having a spiritual session or praying just unearths some of the ugliness, which is later dispersed.  But it comes back.  I’m just glad to have a spiritual advisor as a counter-balance.  I may not go to church every Sunday, but it will be nice to be able to go back now and then when I want to.