Imagine you are meeting someone for the first time. You want to tell them about yourself.
Instead of reciting a laundry list of what you do or where you're from, please give us a scene from your life that best illustrates your true self.
This is an exercise in showing, not telling. You need to show us why this particular moment defines you, or why you want someone to know this truth about you. Be descriptive without bogging us down in extraneous details.
Word limit is 600. This is to help you self-edit and to make it easier for us to read you.
And here's what I came up with:
I was not raised in a church-going family. As such, I am extremely uncomfortable in churches. Truth be told, I find the dentist’s chair more comfortable than a church pew. (That’s not blasphemous, is it? I hope not, because I am just being honest.)
Part of my discomfort is that I don’t understand all the rituals; I also have a hard time with the logistics of religion. I mean, if thousands of people are praying at the same time, to whom does God listen? (I’m not trying to be sarcastic; this is a real question I have.)
I also don’t understand the whole, “It’s God’s plan” mentality. On the one hand, part of me envies people with such blind faith, but on the other, again, I get lost in the logistics. How could He possibly have a plan for each and every one of us?
Then there’s that whole forgiveness thing. Like, you can do something horrible and ask for God’s forgiveness and all is well? Um, I don’t think so.
I think when people don’t understand something, the tendency is to fear it, and in this regard I am just like everyone else (despite the fact that I like to think of myself as fabulously original).
Why all this talk of religion, you ask? Well, my husband and I recently attended a funeral…a church funeral…a Catholic Church funeral…and all of my church fears came rushing right back.
I could probably count on one hand (okay, probably both hands) the number of times I’ve been in a church. Most of those times have been for weddings (though I was not married in a church) with the occasional funeral here and there.
My ignorance of churches is such that at my grandmother’s funeral, after witnessing me not singing the hymns because, well, I did not know the hymns, because, well, I never learned the hymns because, well, I never went to church, my dad leaned over to me and said, “I really failed you when it comes to religion, didn’t I?”
Once in a blue moon I will get the “church bug” and attend one that a friend recommends, but I find my mind filling up with all those questions once again, and once again, I’m left feeling extremely uncomfortable. I have since come to the conclusion that church is just not for me.
In a way, though, it’s not a conclusion in which I find a great deal of comfort. This became evident as I was attending the above mentioned funeral. As I was listening to the priest tell personal stories about the dearly departed, I started thinking about what would happen when it was “my time.”
There would be no personal stories by a preacher because, well, I don’t know any preachers. I began to wonder what happens to people in this situation. Do their families forgo church services for them altogether, or does some random preacher perform some random funeral service?
The thought of someone who doesn’t even know me standing up and trying to pretend he did is depressing. Of course, I would be dead, so really, I wouldn’t even know now, would I? Even dead, though, I’d want to know that my family and friends weren’t experiencing some pre-written, completely impersonal service. They deserve more than that.
Then I got to thinking…maybe my husband can just take me to Vegas and have an Elvis impersonator perform the service. (I’m not going to go straight to you know where for thinking that, am I?) Yes, I think Elvis just might be the best way to go.