I’m Going To Hell For This!


Second Installment to My Church Saga…

Apprehended by indifference and a sluggish spirit this past Sunday, I outwitted my psyche with willpower and hoofed it, to yet another church to sample in the Brooklyn turf. As I whirled myself within the walls of the chapel, I was astounded in my discovery, of a pint sized little girl, comparatively seven years old, undertaking the reading from the pulpit. The tiny framed girl, clad in a blue and white checkered sailor dress, barely reached the podium and mic in height. Her delicate and twig like fingers were tightly clamped on to the platform, holding on for dear life, as she perused the material without a single quiver. She remained thoroughly engaged even through her defected speech, and the congregation listened on as she salvaged every moment, audibly distorting the verses appointed to her.

As I sat there, longing to be receptive to the thought of the tiny evangelist, narrating words she was incapable of comprehending, I was however feverishly daunted. The mispronunciation and high-pitched delivery, taunted my most sacred senses, impeding me from doting on the innocence she displayed. I sank into a self induced lethargic stupor, totally disenchanted and blind to the allure of it all.

“Is this for real?” I thought, wondering if I was the only person whom the appeal had not resonated with.

The torment persevered long enough for all green foliage to turn yellow and orange, or at least that’s how my mind perceived it. Seasons passed and still no one thought to take the poor girl out of her misery.

Was I the only soul in the church, who came with hopes of being inundated with joy in a utopian haven of worship, and to conjoin with the spirit of the Most High, but only to connect with the spirit of their most imbecile and evil doppelgänger (my evil twin)? I mean, this guy totally latched on and wanted to be cronies all service long.

My enthusiasm was temporarily relieved from being buried under rubbles of exasperation, when I caught a luminous glow arising out of the captivating stain colored windows. I marveled at the artistic and engineering finesse, which devised the impressive lofty vertical windows, with a pointed arch. Often, I think of stained glass as relatively the pinnacle of figurative and narrative art, and these were no different. The intensity of the well of colors that poured out from the windows was rhythmically and methodically indomitable. Jewel tones in emeralds, violets, indigos, ruby and scarlet reds, endowed the depiction of several narratives from the Bible. I stood bewitched and rid of the petulance that had prematurely owned my mind.

I read somewhere that Gothic structures, similar to the grand formation that encompassed me, were made with precision and lush details to appeal to the emotions. The whole church boasted with decorative sculptural designs. Its columns, braces, and the ribs of the vaults created a fascinating stone skeleton.

A bellowing mash up of Sunday school and a doctor’s visit unravelled by the pulpit, strongly appealing for my attention. A man introduced himself as a medical practitioner and proceeded to entertain children in an attempt to educate them in the process. The kids circled him enthusiastically, as they each participated in his comedy farce. After the whole charade, the kids burst into a song of praise, while the rest of us folks sat and watched.

It became apparent that if I had hopes of praying sometime in that church, I may be challenged.

However, the children triggered memories of my own childhood, while attending a junior catholic boarding school. Back then, we referred to church as the snooze chamber. We could not figure out why all of us kids dropped simultaneously in sequence like dominos, virtually comatose, while lined up adjacent to the pulpit during each church service. We eventually determined that one’s only hope was to entertain them self, or suffer the consequences of being overcome by the church ordered inertness and surrender to micro-sleeping. To this day, I credit those days for my unrelenting creativity.

The Pastor surfaced only to recount all the unfortunate events in his life. I felt for him when he spoke of the battles that befell him in the past. He acknowledged all whom he lost to the afterlife, and his loved ones who cheated death. He reiterated troubles his offspring had encountered, named afflictions that they had succumbed to, and illnesses that have ravaged his friends. Through all the countless calamitous events, he assured the congregation that he remained hopeful.

However, for an hour, the Pastor mentioned every bad catastrophe known to man. Perhaps it was the personalness or the gruesomeness of the unfortunate events, because somehow my heart was incapable of distinguishing from internalizing his hardships, and they were so overwhelming. Instead of inspiring me, they took from me. With each dire situation he mentioned, my heart got heavier and heavier. I almost felt like he buried us along with him, under the blackest cloud, and pulling from us the hope and light that we had stored. It was rather peculiar how synchronized his troubles were. When I finally felt like I was running out of positive assurance, under his guidance, I ran out of the church before it left me without a shred of hope.

You cannot disguise rudeness and I would not contest my boorish candor of skipping out during the service, but, however inelegant, perhaps ignorance is a virtue in this one occurrence.

Copyright © 2012 by Selwana Hudson. All Rights Reserved