I sing church songs still. I do it too much to say I only do it once in a while… once every few days one of them will pop up in my head and if I’m alone in my car, I usually just go ahead and sing them.
Yesterday’s song was “You Oh Lord Are My Refuge”:
You, oh Lord are my refuge,
You are holy and just,
You are faithful and righteous
You oh Lord are my refuge
By your mercy you cover me.
Under the shadow of your wings,
Lord in your presence I’ll remain
You are forevermore the same
You are my refuge, my only refuge
By the way- when I went to double check my memory of these lyrics by typing the first line into google, this uber creepy image popped up:
I felt like Jesus from my past was all like “What? Have you decided to come back to me? Wanna see my new lion and lamb laying down next to each other?” eck… it felt so ex-boyfriend-y. And more on that later…
This song was very emotionally charged for me back in the day… one of the ones introduced to me during of the highly-influential (to me) FaithQuest weekends. I remember staying up late into the night at Camp Yamhill – and at subsequent sleepovers I’d have with the girls in my youth group- singing this song along with countless hours-worth of others. Always in 3-part harmony… Church of Christ girls don’t get to play instruments so you gotta work the voice God gave you.
So anyway- this song came back to me yesterday along with all kinds of feelings. I have come to understand that I used the strong emotions I felt back then as evidence of God. I stopped believing in a god a long time ago- but boy do I ever still have those feelings. I’m afraid of them- since they led me down a completely incorrect path before. But, if I let them in a bit, they feel so good. I can only liken it to the feelings that you get at the beginning of a true, deep romance.
Which leads me to this… He’s the one that got away. I find myself pining over him often. And he didn’t get away so much as he fizzled out- dissolved- crumbled- failed miserably. It was so romantic. I gave myself over to it completely. And I get those old familiar feelings- the ‘god’ feelings… so exciting and warm and hopeful and safe. “There’s a god-shaped hole in all of us” says a song off some 90’s WOW cd…. “and a restless soul that’s searching…” This is somehow true for me still- true for me now as I am… an atheist.
I have all of these lovey-dovey feelings for a being I no longer believe in. I have no idea what to do with them. In that world I lived in, my feelings were requited. I caught myself daydreaming about a campfire skit I did at Camp Yamhill with my actual ex-boyfriend playing Jesus and telling me he loved me… before I nailed him to a cross and left for a party. (I found someone else’s version of the same skit for your viewing pleasure.) It was just a silly campfire skit- but it’s the closest thing to an auditory memory of the god I believed in telling me he loved me back.
God was the love of my life. And I don’t know that I’m going to ever be able to replace him. This is really confusing.
But like I was saying before… The feelings… the feelings were the only things that were real… and they’re still here. I get them when I’m walking in the park, when I’m listening to Joni Mitchell, when I’m really present with my son, when I’m really present with my husband, and in savasana during the few yoga classes I get to squeeze in once in a while. So I guess I’m going to decide to explore the feelings and determine, if I let them back into my life, what kind of role they’re going to play.