Such encounters are more common than you'd think. Because of love of myth and the tarot, and art and fairy tales, and my unique spirituality, folks are provoked to verbally accuse and attack me. I've been called evil, satanic and demonic.
“Do you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior?! Do you reject Satan and all his deception?!”
In days gone by, I would fully engage in these exchanges. I now know these are often performances rather than conversations. If I give a ‘wrong’ answer or I am impertinent enough to ask a question of my own, the face becomes more contemptuous: discolored and distorted by their fury. Back then, I didn’t know that the questions they asked were part of a preordained script. When I answered them honestly and from my heart that I believed God was Love, and Jesus came to tell us this beautiful and simple truth, their anger would escalate to a grotesque show.
My earliest memory of Fear, incarnate, hysterically invoking the name of Jesus, was demonstrated by my mother. With the help of a therapist the year I turned forty, I pieced together the memories and nightmares from the event that formed me. My therapist hypothesized that I was sixteen months old when I was traumatized by my primary care giver, resulting in the post traumatic stress disorder I struggle with to this day. That fateful day that has colored my nightmares all these years hence, my mom witnessed me interacting playfully with the swirling lights that had accompanied me through my infancy. Mom responded dramatically; running back and forth between the bathroom and kitchen, gathering weird gizmos and creating a smelly, hot concoction, all the while wailing the prayers of her Appalachian childhood. As the volume of her prayer rose to a crescendo, she flung me face down on the floor and filled my colon with searing liquid. “Je-he-sus, help her! Lor-ed-duh! Save my baby!” she screamed in the Kentucky drawl she had otherwise obliterated from her speech.
I have learned that in the hill country the enema ritual is a means of exorcizing evil. The realization that my mother saw the lights and that she reacted the way she did in order to save me from the demonic seed she had passed on to me has brought me to a place of compassion for her and for those that have tried to save my soul since.
The intensity of their desire to confront, condemn and ultimately convert, causes me to question their convictions. I have no need to dispute their beliefs and choices. I cannot even imagine the gall it would take to approach someone and question their relationship with a higher power.
Ironically, now, as it was in my babyhood, the screaming, cruel displays only strengthen my adoration of the lights of God. The God I know, of Love and Light and the peace that passeth understanding will never be equated with the one described by those with faces wracked in fear and mouths screaming falsehoods with flying spittle.