Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chance meetings

Last night I needed to run to the store and as I hadn't gotten the kitchen up to speed yet (nor most of the house) we just stopped at Arby's for a sandwich.  Had a pleasant time mostly just watching the news station on their tv which, thankfully, wasn't Faux Noise, then sat and discussed some of the stories we saw.  Before leaving Zach made a trip to the bathroom while I was gathering up the trash and such.  There had been a large family sitting at a table near us but as they were well-behaved I didn't pay them much attention.  Then the woman walked toward me and I thought she might need the time or directions or something.

Nope.  It was someone from my old fundie church whom I hadn't seen in about 5 years.  Unlike most other people, though, I genuinely liked her so I was pleased, albeit nervous, to see her.  We caught up and while I didn't quite lie to her, I wasn't completely honest about why we no longer went to church.  She asked about Zach and I asked about her daughter, who is a year older than Zach.

It was really hard to keep my face neutral when she told me that A was going to some International House of Prayer seminary type thing.  They are the Dominionists that were behind the Rick Perry religious fest down in Texas.  The link is from CARM, which I'm not endorsing but using to show that most Christian organizations are distancing themselves from it.  Apparently A sleeps from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and then prays for the next 8 hours, then works the remaining 8 hours.  Sounds like a cult to me.

But S didn't seem to indicate in her mannerism that she found anything wrong with this at all.  Although she might have been hiding her true feelings as she had told me when A graduated high school that she was so disappointed that A wasn't going on to college but was going to attend some Assembly of God pseudo seminary type of school, which wouldn't have given her any tools to get a job anywhere, not even within the Assembly of God. 

Thing is, this is the kind of thing that was pushed in the youth group in the church we belonged to (and one of the biggest reasons S and her husband left that particular fundie church).  The youth pastor kept telling Zach he should become a minister and tried to push him into attending a very expensive Assembly of God college in which he couldn't use any federal grants or federal backed student loans.  These were the people who nickeled and dimed us to death to pay for their sound equipment for the youth groups so it would look like a rock concert.

I'm so glad we escaped that cult-like atmosphere and while Zach is still very much damaged by them, I'm so glad he had the strength to resist their indoctrination.  And mine for that matter.  His escape enabled me to leave.  My son rescued me, no doubt about it.

After a few pleasantries, we parted company.  When we got to the car, I noticed Zach was shaking like a leaf.  Even though S was one of the few really good people in that church, just that connection brought back all the old memories and pain he endured while there.

I know that as a Pagan I'm supposed to be more tolerant and allow others to have the right to choose their own spiritual paths, but it frightens me how close I came to ruining Zach's life by choosing his path for him.  And how many years of my life were wasted by my parents not only choosing, but locking me into the spiritual path of their choice.  I'm not saying parents shouldn't share their religious faith and beliefs with their children.  But forcing them into it is, in my mind and based on my own experiences, as damaging as child abuse in some cases.

I admit that I will walk down a different aisle or change directions whenever I see anyone from the old fundie church mostly because I hate the third degree (which S didn't do at all, thankfully) and can't get past feeling like I have to justify why I left that life behind.  I know that this is where I need to grow stronger, but it's still very annoying to be questioned as if I were a criminal.

Maybe this is the biggest reason I am such a recluse, a loner and have so many social anxieties.  I just hope Zach escaped early enough he can heal soon and not continue to suffer the anxiety he's enduring now.



  1. Ugh, I hear this. I'm so sorry for Zach that he's still experiencing the detox. That's what I call it anyway; it's like a PTSD flashback sometimes.

    Zach is fortunate to have you for his mom.

  2. Thanks, Tana. I'm pretty lucky to have him for a son as well. I don't know how long it takes to get over this kind of emotional and spiritual abuse but I have faith that time will create the distance he needs to do that.

  3. I'm sorry that Zach has been affected so much by what does sound like a cult. I had no Religion as a child (was taught to be a free thinker by my brother and father) and so I don't have that baggage. Perhaps you need to do a strong dark moon spell to finally be rid of this so you can move forward?

  4. For the most part he does okay but once in a while, when faced with physical reminders like people, he does tend to freak out a bit. I like the idea of a dark moon spell and fits in perfectly with what he's been studying lately. Thanks!