I go to church. I go to an awesome church, where I know that people love me and my family and we practice loving each other and people who aren’t necessarily part of the church.
I feel safe there. But things happened today that made me feel unsafe, and depressed, and detached from the world, and I realized what this feeling is: TRIGGERED. That’s what they mean by that word. I didn’t know it until I felt it.
I’m still feeling low-to-mid-level anxiety about Trump’s America, so there was that to start with. Then, today is the first Sunday of Advent (the church’s time of preparing for Christmas), so we were talking about the tradition of penitence during Advent, which led to discussion of the Roman Catholic practice of confession.
I’m a former Catholic, and another former Catholic and I described our experiences and even laughed about it a little. But then I remembered a couple of experiences I had that helped turn me away from the Catholic Church.
The first happened when I was a young, queer, single adult. I still wanted to be part of the church. Really, I’ve never NOT wanted to have some kind of relationship with God, even when I wasn’t part of a church. Anyway, I went on a women’s retreat, and confession was offered as part of the retreat, and I decided to take part. I don’t remember what I actually tried to talk to the priest about, but the advice that he ended up giving me — completely unsolicited — was that I should pray to St. Joseph for a good husband.
The other one happened after I was married. I think I really did say something to the priest about my marriage, but his response was to ask about why we didn’t have any children and whether we were doing anything to prevent it.
I joined the United Methodist Church not long after that. Which ended up being problematic, too, but that’s a whole other thing.
So, all of that was going through my head after the discussion of penitence, and then, and THEN, another church member came in late and talked a bit about the sermon he had just heard at another church in the neighborhood. That church was teaching about injustice. Cool! That’s definitely something churches should be talking about. But their first example of injustice? Being forced to pay a $135,000 fine for refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
Dear. Lord. Obviously I could not disagree with this more. I could give you the reasons, but here’s how this makes me feel:
A church in my community, where I live and work, is OK with discrimination against non-straight people.
I know, they’re not the only ones. But normally it’s not practically happening in my face. Normally I can ignore it. And heck, when that case first came up, things were relatively normal. Most people that I knew thought the bakery was wrong. And there was no Donald Trump messing things up.
So I am angry. I wanted to march down there and tell them off and fight people.
I also feel unsafe. It’s NOT like I’ve had anti-gay slurs painted on my door or anything. But the idea that people in my community are OK with discrimination still makes me feel unsafe.
And then I realized I was feeling sluggish, feeling symptoms of depression, and feeling detached from reality. That’s when the word “triggered” came to me, and it definitely fits.