My wife and I went to a Spritualist bakesale the other day. Their church was built in the late eighteen hundreds, they've occupied it since, oh, 1912 or so and it needs new windows.
So...for twenty dollars a pop they do readings. As in, I see dead people. Please do not misconstrue that as minimizing their beliefs...it just kind of cuts to the chase and is so much easier to type out than their entire philosophy on life and living.
Anyway, it was my first experience in a Spiritualist church. Raised Catholic, I went to Catholic school. Thankfully, they have forgiven the Catholic church for the whole Galileo debacle. Who knew, really? That the earth really was round? Or, at the very least, not as flat as they thought.
We waited our turns, were escorted, separately, to a private area in the church, screened off with two chairs.
"This is the way this works," he smiled at me. "I am going to close my eyes and focus for a bit. When or if I ask you questions, I would ask that you respond with a simple yes or no. You okay with that?"
He closed his eyes for a few minutes, opened them and started talking very fast.
"There are many people around you," he said, "and they are telling me to talk very fast? Does that make sense to you?"
"Yes." (The people in my family tend to talk very fast)
"They are telling you that it is perfect, you are not listening. Why aren't you listening?" He said. "You are very involved in introspection right now. In a very big way. Trying to figure things out."
Then, he closed his eyes, opened them, looked at me and closed them again. When he opened them again, he was crying.
"You were abused. Weren't you?"
He seriously relaxed after that. His shoulders dropped, his tone changed.
"I do not usually bring that up," he said, "but, you are a gentle lion and I see you roaring. A huge roar. You are not listening, they are trying to tell you. It is perfect."
So...I asked him about the "perfect" business. What is up with that?
"It is perfect," he offered, "because you did not learn what love is when you were growing up. But you are challenging that now. You are learning what it is, what it means."
And...that is true. Love is about celebrating diversity, not criticizing the differences. If we all believed the same, thought the same, looked the same...what would be the point?
I tend to be a skeptical kind of guy, but I left there feeling my family around me. Those who have gone before me. Touching me, holding me, helping me. Connected.
The chocolate chip cookies were good, too.