Where It Hurts: Part 2

So last time I talked about the earlier experiences in my life regarding religion, church, and dogma, for lack of a better term. I think I left off with my senior year of high school. Well, I started attending another church when I was in college and it was my parents who moved again. At least I think that is the timeline. As I said before, a lot of this is really fuzzy. What I remember vividly is the bigotry and the ill-taught lessons I took away from those experiences.

I was in constant battle with my human self and “God.” No one wanted to talk about anything other than what was in the Bible. Don’t have questions. Don’t think outside of the box. Don’t have a brain. Don’t be a free-thinker.

My son got angry with me when I got my tattoo and colored my hair. He didn’t like my piercing much either. I have no idea where this bigotry is coming from, but it isn’t me. I lived under that veil of darkness for far too long to perpetuate it with my child. His answer to me when I pointedly asked him was “Christians don’t do that. Everyone will look at you differently. Everyone will look at me differently.” My answer to that was, “If they’re really Christians, that shouldn’t even matter!” It was years of watching these sorts of things play out in the church that has brought me to that source of understanding.

So, anyway…

I was a part of the praise team at the new church; singing and such. In fact every church I ever attended I was either involved in the drama plays, choir, youth groups, or something of that nature. I liked doing those things. Maybe I thought it would give me extra points or something. I led a double life really. At college, I was involved in a sorority, which wasn’t the sort of sorority you’re thinking of. But still, a lot of my friends drank and partied. I had a steady boyfriend up until 1996 and then I got married for the first time to someone I hardly knew. We even went to church together. I guess we were trying to atone for our stupidity. I don’t know.

You also have to remember that while all of these things were happening throughout my entire life, I was dealing with paranormal phenomenon. My family DOES NOT approve of my books. It is reiterated to me often, in fact. Someone I went to school with talk to my parents one day and asked how I was. My parents couldn’t remember the name of the girl. When the girl said, “Didn’t she write some books?” the answer to her was “We don’t get into that paranormal stuff.” So, what is religion? Isn’t it paranormal? Miracles? Casting out demons? The actual act of prayer? Isn’t that as paranormal as it gets? I’m confused. So because I don’t write Christian fiction, I’m not good enough. Typical story from typical bigoted “Christians.”

Now I’m ranting… Sorry.

So, I divorced in the Fall of 1996 because I shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place. I had to move back in with my parents. They didn’t realize I had no rules in the few months I was married and they wanted to bring me back under control. What better way to do this than to urge me back to church even more and guilt me for all of the things I’d done wrong? Tell me that you know it wouldn’t work out anyway and that it wasn’t “God’s will.” Now that I’m older, it wasn’t their will.

I was trying to do my school work and become a productive adult while trying to reconcile all of these feelings that I had about God and religion and all of the things I’d experienced before I shut down my “third eye.” While still actively in the church, I was set up on a blind date with my second husband (the father of my child). We met in January and married in February (I’ve never been one to move slow). That was 1998.

He loved God. I loved God. He was hard-working and kind. What wasn’t there to love? His family approved. My family approved. It was “God’s will.” With that in mind, trying to get divorced from that. You think that in getting a divorce from God’s divine plan that you are disappointing God and that you are risking going to hell. But that’s exactly what happened. There were four people in my marriage. Me, my husband, my mother, and his mother. It was a mess. We were fine for a while, but things turned ugly after a few years. Even the birth of my son didn’t bring us closer. In fact, it drove us further apart.

I remember after I had my son, I started buying wine coolers, which was my preferred drink of choice back then. My mom saw then in my fridge and questioned me, accusing me of being an alcoholic and that God would send me to hell. I was in my mid-twenties and being lectured about how drinking a wine cooler every now and then made me an alcoholic.

Let me backtrack a little though. My husband and I became really involved with a local church. We became youth leaders. I taught the littler ones and even helped them prepare for a Christmas production. I loved doing these things. However, there was corruption in this church as well, which I know is a fact for most “Bride’s of Christ.” The pastor was sort of creepy. That’s about the only way I know how to describe him. He was a showman. He was young and we actually spent time with he and his wife. Still, there was something under the surface that didn’t feel right.

When I got pregnant, I wasn’t able to do much of anything. I lost my job right after I found out I was going to have a baby and was on unemployment. I was so tired I couldn’t think and my doctor put me in the “high-risk” category immediately because I almost lost my son early on. Church took a backseat. Because of this, I quit teaching the youth and wrote a letter resigning. My husband refused. Even though he know the preacher didn’t want him doing the job anymore, his mom told him that it wasn’t “God’s will” for him to give up the youth position. He wouldn’t listen to me, so the pastor removed him from the office. He had to learn the hard way. This was the start of the downward spiral that was left of our relationship and our marriage. It just got worse.

After that, and during the remainder of my pregnancy, we attended a more non-denominational church. My husband was beyond unhappy. His pride had been hurt. He was bitter and he was taking it out on me; like it was my fault that HE didn’t listen when I told him to go ahead and resign. STRIKE THREE.

Because he was so miserable, we started attending a Baptist church that he gone to before he met me. We liked it much better there and he needed the peace. I helped out with Vacation Bible School before I had my son and enjoyed the quiet, peaceful sermons on Sundays. My son was dedicated at that church and I also continued to help with drama programs. In fact, that was the first play I ever wrote and the people performed the play.

The play was about a family with an alcoholic husband. The wife was pregnant again. An angelic being came on the scene to help enlighten the alcoholic husband and all was right with the world. The next Christmas, I wrote another play and performed a song. However, by August of that year (2003), I left my husband, moved away from the area, and began life as a single mother.

That’s enough for today. We’ll pick up where I left off next Friday.

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6 responses to “Where It Hurts: Part 2

  1. Oh, Tracee I`m heartfelt horrified by what you went through. Sending big hugs and blessing because by writing this down and sharing it with us, perhaps it will banish any lingering ghosts? I hope so.

  2. A very illuminating account of a hard-road life. Your courage is matched by the clarity of your prose.
    Here’s hoping for a sunnier life for you from now on
    (As the old saying goes ‘You’ve paid your dues’)
    Best wishes
    Roger

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