Last night, around maybe 11:30, midnight, the sky was lit up with brilliant flashes of lightning, and thunder rumbled loudly. I was impressed, exhilarated, and yes, a little frightened at times by the sudden, very intense sounds of thunder. However, since being away from a private school setting for a good 2 or 3 years it did not occur to me that the weather was an omen of the impending rapture.
I have what has been referenced on occasion as “hostility” toward the people that believe that they can make a “educated” guess at when the end of the world is coming. Perhaps this is true. Due to my history with this “Type” of people however I think I would describe it as a guarded anxiety. Let me attempt to explain being as brief as possible.
After elementary school, my parents were afraid that public school would not be a good fit for me, so I was placed in a private school near by home. few weeks of me not Starting that first year I went there, in Chapel on Friday mornings, a senior pastor at the church would come in and tell us that the end of the world was coming to an end, that the days were similar to that of Noah’s and that there were unmistakable signs that the end of the world was in fact approaching, and that those who did not believe would be left behind. We were showed one of the “Left Behind” movies in my sixth grade year and i remember even then, feeling the now evident signs of a panic attack, rapid pulse, sweating, and feeling like i was having a heart attack. None of the other students were having such a response, but the imagery of people’s clothes, bodilless, lying on the ground was enough to make me leave the room and retreat to just outside the classroom, shaking and not sure what I was even so scared about.
At either this time, or a similar circumstance after Chapel, told the concerned substitute teacher that i was just concerned about a family member that was not saved. Perhaps, erroneously, they thought that I was just so convinced of this upcoming event that I wanted to go out and evangelize. These chapel talks as well as telling us that certain news events were more clear signs of the end, made me more anxious with each passing day and I quickly learned that I did not have anything in common with this tight knight school where I was the only one that i know of who disagreed so strongly and had such an anxious reaction to the teachings.
I could write a book about how anxious this setting made me but my goal is not to hate or discredit the school for the good that was there too. There was one particularly amazing teacher there that always had a kind spot in his heart for me, going above and beyond.
however there is only so much crying and hyperventilating on Friday mornings that i could take. I was taught at that school that if you prayed you would feel the spirit, that you would hear an answer when you prayed. I felt none of that, and developed the thought that even though i was baptized, since i did not have these sensory experiences they were describing, I was going to hell. I was now convinced that i would not be taken up into heaven with the believers before the Tribulation. I would hyperventilate and cry, and the staff, not having experience with special education, would think it was because I had neglected to bring my Bible. So except for one instance, I was left to either sit and try to shut down or to leave and feign illness in the bathroom. One year, my amazing supportive stepfather came for three Friday mornings in a row and sat in Chapel so I could brave the talks of rapture without visible signs of disturbance.
Now, and even then, when i was in the safety of my own home, I could express my own thoughts, that talk of the rapture was a scare tactic, designed to get people to believe. However, i predicted, people who were scared into religion this way probably would not be very enthusiastic or identify with Christianity for long, they would perhaps resent it because people do not like to be scared. Despite all my time spent thinking about this subject, all sound logic and my own personal beliefs would jump out the window as soon as i walked into school every morning, and not return until I was gratefully home much later in the day. I acted like I had no problem with the doctrine, but purposefully never verbally agreed with what they were saying. I was a silent, I’d like to think, stoic presence in the classroom, grateful in the times where I could keep my beliefs in mind, and infuriated at myself when I lapsed into ragged breathing and chest pains.
As I am writing this, it is all too clear to me the pretending I was doing must have had a tremendous impact on the disorder based on trauma that I have recently been diagnosed with. It can also explain why this post is my longest on record. I shall only write a little more though.
As this former of school of mine might describe me, I might very well be unsaved. There is a great possibility though that this is not accurate, it may be paranoia. However, due to the rigid oversimplifying of religion and heaven and hell at this school, as well as my own scathing judgement of every aspect of my existence, has for many years made me believe that deep down, because i do not feel the spirit or hear answers to my prayers that I am unsaved. Damned to the deepest pit of hell as they so believe, to be burned for eternity with pedophiles and adulterers and homosexuals.
Today, I keep the occasional prayers I utter short and brief, asking for guidance to live with courtesy and respect to those in my household, and to make further progress in bettering myself in various ways. There is no begging in the middle of an emotional sobbing outburst in the early hours of the morning that I will be given some detectable hug, no lifting of the constriction in my chest during a panic attack. I believe what I believe about God and Jesus and how we should treat each other. If I end up being unsaved, sent to hell, left behind, then I will. I will have no doubt that I tried to live my life in the best way I could. I will not have panic attacks when I do not feel a divine presence, and I will not attempt to manipulate, brainwash, or scare anyone else into believing things, telling them that if they do not profess their beliefs, they will be left behind.
I can not find the source or even the exact wording of the quote that comes to mind when I cast my fears of rapture aside but it is something like this
“I will be me and God will be God.”