Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One hymn and a childhood comes rushing back

This weekend, the church that I've been attending for a bit celebrated its 175th anniversary.  Church members had voted on their favorite hymns which would all be sung/played on this special date.  I didn't vote nor stay up to date on the results because church music, as a general rule, isn't my thing.

Now I do have some church-related songs that I especially like, "How Great Thou Art" and "Amazing Grace" being two....both of which were sung this weekend.  But just as I connect with the spiritual in classic literature over the Bible, I tend to find spiritual salve in non-religious music.  Religious music is just too religious for my taste.  Maybe it is my too-analytical mind....if it is too easy to spot the spiritual it just isn't fun and a challenge anymore.

I heard a song that I hadn't heard since I was a child, "Here I Am" by Dan Schutte.  I didn't sing aloud but inside my head I remembered and sang every verse of this tune, which brought up all kinds of weird and mostly unpleasant feelings.

What my head and heart seemed to remember is attending church with my classmates every week, and this was a go-to song since it was easy for kids to sing and remember.  Hearing this song this weekend drudged up how much I felt awkward, disliked amongst my peers, made fun of for my "buddy" shoes, not athletic and therefore not popular.

I remember how, as a kid, I would sing the lyrics almost as a plea to God.  "Hey God, here I am!  Um, I'm happy to do whatever you ask but can you please get these kids to stop being jerks to me????"

Being surrounded each week in church by a whole slew of kids who seemingly hated me (and whom I hated back) didn't really make me love church.  I never could feel the peace of God in the midst of feeling like a pariah.

Of course, as I write this I feel childish because I know my perception of my experience was through a child's lens.  I'm sure it wasn't wholly accurate.  I don't know what my peers actually thought of me.  When I think of my Catholic school experience it is largely through a gray lens of terrible, but in truth I think I had plenty of ok experiences that I have forgotten smattered in with some really crappy ones which I remember larger than life.

It is at once interesting to me and bothersome how so many unrelated things can impact one's spiritual health. 

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