Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Introverted Experience of Glide Memorial

I went to church today in a place that was not what I expected. Well, I did know some of what to expect. I knew Glide Memorial is a well known presence in San Francisco. They seat around 2000 people every Sunday. They have a band and a choir ensemble. You have to wait in line to get in.

And I found out people love it.

But not me.

Admittedly I was not completely awake this morning. That said, the band was as loud as most concerts. With my sensitive ears, it wasn't celebratory, but physical torture. I was literally in pain. The only way I was able to stay in church was by finding a hidden pair of earplugs in my purse.

The exuberant nature of the service could easily work for many, but it is far from where I am when it comes to interacting with the divine. I need a little more meditation, and a little more rock (less gospel). I also need a lot fewer people.

I'm not comfortable hugging strangers. I'm not comfortable with songs where I can't tell when I'm supposed to sing because I don't know the music style. I'm not comfortable with a high amount of performance while participation is limited to clapping and dancing.

I can see how others would appreciate this, but it's not where I am. To me, it is in my face and frighteningly overwhelming. It is so much so that I almost began sobbing.

That said, I did like one of the soloists and the song she sang. I do like the mission of the church and its accepting nature. But this is not enough to keep me when the worship is so intense it makes me shut down. Literally, I didn't sing once. For those who know me, you will know that I sing constantly. It takes a lot to keep me from singing, but this place silenced me. Not only did it silence my voice, but my spirit. It is impossible for me to nurture my soul when I feel physically attacked.

It hurts me. I wanted to like this place. I really did. But it's not the place for a reserved introvert who prefers the peace of Zen meditation or an isolated hike.

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