The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)
9:14 - "so that I may recount all your praises, and, in the gates of daughter Zion, rejoice in your deliverance."
Psalms 10 - No mention of any women.
Psalms 11 - No mention of any women.
Psalms 12 - No mention of any women.
Psalms 13 - No mention of any women.
Psalms 14 - No mention of any women.
Psalms 15 - No mention of any women.
Psalms 16 - No mention of any women.
Psalms 17 - No mention of any women.
I have to get some things off my chest. This last week has been a bit trying emotionally for me, and with very few people to really confide in (and I'm also fairly bad at talking about my feelings, so forgive me if this ends up being disjointed and a bit nonsensical) I don't have many outlets for this. So this post will have nothing to do with the Psalms I read, which is fine because the Psalms have nothing interesting in them. Just more people going "Holy crap, God, you're so awesome and worthy of praise even if you shit on us some of the times! Because we somehow know your shitting on us is just some sort of character building and you'll totally help us out later! Or, you know, you MIGHT help us out later if you're feeling up to it... no pressure, we will sing your praises either way!"
My grandmother died last weekend. This is the first major relative of mine to die, so all of this is new for me. She is the only grandparent of mine I have had any relationship with since both of my grandfather's died when I was very young and my mom's mom is one of the most horrible people I've ever met (funny how relatives you liked when you were a kid turn unlikeable once you learn about the horrible shit they did to your parents). My grandmother's death wasn't out of the blue. She hasn't been herself for the last few years since she fell and hit her head and internal bleeding basically caused dementia. My grandmother was post polio, unable to walk, and unable to hold a normal conversation. As much as I loved her she hasn't really been the grandmother I knew and grew up with for the past couple of years. I know it sounds cold, and I hate thinking it, but to me we were taking care of a body, my grandmother had long since died. And it was so hard to visit when she couldn't even recognize me and didn't even acknowledge I was there.
So this all wasn't a big surprise and most of the family is just happy she isn't suffering anymore. Still, I am uncertain with how to deal with my feelings. I am having a hard time sorting through it on my own with no one to talk to, and over the last week I've felt like I can't say a word. I start thinking about saying something or asking something and suddenly someone will say, "I bet she's having so much fun in heaven seeing Clarence and her family again. Wonder how long she'll be celebrating?" and that tends to shut me up very quick. Suddenly I feel I can't ask a question because now if I do it'll be the atheist asking a question. Of course the atheist has questions after her death because the atheist has no answers for death. Only the christians know what's going on, what happened to happen, how to feel and what to say. Since I no longer have my faith (not that I ever did) this is why I suddenly have no clue what's going on. I fear I'll start being pressured to come back to the faith, I'll feel obligated to because that's the only place I can feel happy. Only God can help me through this time, right, because only God has the answers? I know my parents don't have the answers anymore than I do, and pretending my grandmother is somewhere skipping and jumping will not help me because I know it's not true. Covering up reality with a shiny fluffy bandaid doesn't make reality go away, it just covers it up so I'll just have to deal with it later.
Maybe is this is why I've had nightmares for the last seven days. I'm prone to nightmares anyway, but they don't tend to be this frequent or alarming. So of course on top of all this I'm feeling sleep deprived. I can't seem to get any of my emotions out in a productive manner so maybe my brain is just trying to deal with it at night and really just making it worse in the end. I managed to get through Christmas okay, and we actually all had a great time despite having a pretty weird and awkward Christmas Eve. So I probably should have left it there and spent my Sunday just being lazy and enjoying my gifts.
Instead I spent my Sunday morning going to church with my parents because I told them I'd go to a Christmas service with them. My original terms were I would go to a Christmas Eve service with them as long as it was not at their current church (the preacher is a complete asshole and I just do not feel comfortable in all white churches). So since that was apparently the ONLY Christmas Eve service they wanted to go to I said I'd go with them to their friend's church on Sunday.
Note to self: Never ever go to a church where your parents are very good friends with the preacher. The preacher has probably heard all of your family's dirty secrets, including every story about yourself, and most definitely knows that you are "questioning your faith." (a term my parents use because they refuse to believe that I have completely given up on their faith)
I really should not have gone. I think I just assumed because it was Christmas the service would just be a fluff piece with some singing and that'd be it. Instead it was a real service in a VERY small church with a preacher who knew I wasn't a Christian and had a great opportunity to pressure me into rejoining the faith. The best part was the hug after the service and then the very intense stare and smile, "We are so glad you came. I hope you make this a habit." Yeah, sure, what I needed on top of everything was feeling bad for being an outcast in a group of believers. Or a preacher who, in his sermon, made a point of saying that anyone who doesn't have Jesus can't be a good person. That people without Jesus are angry and confused and have no direction or ability to improve themselves or their lives. Yes, that was EXACTLY what I need to hear right now.
No, what I need right now is a group of people I can talk to without feeling like I'm going to be judged by my lack of beliefs. I don't want to feel like whatever I say concerning my feelings towards my grandmother's death is suddenly how all atheists feel about death, and since I'm an atheist and not a Christian pretty much everything I say will be "wrong." I don't want to feel like someone will try to get me to believe in God with the promise I'll feel better. I know me, and in my emotional and stressed state I can be easily manipulated, which means I will be very on guard with anyone talking to me. I don't want to feel like I have to say something different than how I feel or censor how I feel. I want to be able to ask questions openly and have whomever I'm talking to be okay with just being silent or being honest and saying "I don't know." Lies do not make me feel better, whether they are well meaning lies or not. I don't want to feel like I'm being pitied because poor atheists they just don't have any comfort in their lives.
They don't seem to understand that I'm lacking comfort because I'm tired of feeling like I have to be something else in order to escape their judgment. I'm stressed and sad not because I don't have some unseen holy power maybe or maybe not helping me out but because I don't feel like I have someone supporting me fully. Yeah, sure, they are there physically. When I need it I can get a hug or a reassuring pat on the back. But comfort isn't all physical. And comfort cannot be had when you feel like you're being judged for your feelings.
While we were at the service on Sunday, another family had had someone die on Christmas. The two women who had come to the service couldn't stop crying. During the group prayer, some people went to the front, including these women. As the preacher prayed for God to protect us and comfort us and help us through these tough times, the people up front gathered around the two women and hugged them and held them.
I couldn't stop wondering, if God was really a comfort and a guide during these tough times, why did everyone feel like these women needed imperfect physical comfort? If God was all that was needed to get over a loss of a loved one, or if anyone truly believed in a heaven, why not give the women space so God could comfort them with his perfect and blessed presence? If God was all you needed why couldn't these women stop crying? Why did they need someone to hold on to?
And why couldn't anyone there see that it wasn't God helping these women through this time, but the people who cared enough to be there for them? Why would they give the credit to an invisible sky daddy when it was plain to me that He does not deserve any of the credit whatsoever?
I just don't understand.
Wednesday: More Psalms