s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: Not feeling it

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Not feeling it

I hate crying. I don’t think that I have ever, in my life, cried happy tears. I have cried sad tears, exhausted tears, bitter tears, hurt tears, uncomfortable tears and stressed out tears, but not happy tears. Not ever.

I remember, when I was little, once asking my mother during church why the woman who was bearing her testimony was crying. My mother explained that the woman was crying because she was so happy. I remember thinking that was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard and I may be five but I wasn’t born yesterday and even I know that you cry when you’re sad.

And then I got older and went into Young Women’s and to Girl’s Camp and the girls would cry, constantly. And I never would (except rarely and for one of the above, not-happy reasons). And they used to talk about how strongly they’d felt the Spirit that day, and I wouldn’t be feeling anything (let alone crying) and I’d think “Dang. I missed it again. Was I just not paying attention?” And I’d go home and tell my Mom that I was afraid there was something wrong with me because I never felt the Spirit.

She was really good about that kind of thing, and she explained that teenaged girls are full of hormones and tend to cry easily, that crying isn’t the same thing as feeling the Spirit, that different people can feel the Spirit at different times or not as often as other people, and that’s OK.

So. Given that I do not enjoy being emotionally demonstrative (you should see me pout stonily through a Church video – I’m sure it’s a treat), given that I never, ever cry when I’m happy (along those same lines), and given that I never feel the Spirit in church, it is slightly astonishing that it only just occurred to me, within the last two weeks, that maybe the Spirit doesn’t ever talk to me by overwhelming me emotionally. Not just that I don’t feel the Spirit often, but that whatever it is I think I’m not feeling in church would be an unpleasant experience for me anyway, and why would God make me miserable in order to communicate His presence?

I’m down with inspiration appearing in different ways to different people, but I don’t know why I never thought that the Spirit could do the same thing. (Or that since the Spirit is responsible for inspiring people in different ways, He ought to be able to figure out how to comfort, uplift or testify in different ways, as well.)

And when I think about it, the experiences in my life that have been the most “spiritual” haven’t had anything to do with overwhelming emotion. (They also haven’t had anything to do with organized church meetings, but that’s a different issue.) They’ve just been times when I felt very peaceful and calm and clear-headed. And that’s definitely something I would like to have more of in my life.


At March 12, 2006 6:52 PM, Blogger Toasteroven said...

Verses 15 and 16 of http://scriptures.lds.org/dc/46
(also mentioned in Moroni 10 and 1 Corinthians 12, but D+C linked because it's more specifc on this part) are ones that I constantly realize I barely understand. Differences of administration....how else does God get it through? Emotion is usually not how it is for me either. That is rare indeed, except when I just need to feel love from God (and usually I'm not paying attention to that need but instead focus on some concept--maybe that's why God speaks to me mostly about that stuff?).

At March 12, 2006 10:54 PM, Blogger FoxyJ said...

I do tend to be a crier for a lot of stupid reasons, but usually I just feel weird afterwards because even I can tell that it's just emotions and not something bigger. Like I remember one year when girls camp was just a horrible experience for me. I cried my way through the entire closing meeting, but it was mostly relief that I was going home. The Spirit usually just makes me feel really peaceful and clearheaded, like you mentioned. Also, when I got my patriarchal blessing it told me some specific ways in which God speaks to me. At the time I had been concerned about these issues because I didn't think I was feeling the Spirit, and some things (dreams) were freaking me out. But, I think it's important to recognize that God does speak to us in many different ways and one of the most important things each person can do is to figure out just how God speaks to him (or her).

At March 13, 2006 2:58 PM, Blogger bawb said...

"Given that I do not enjoy being emotionally demonstrative (you should see me pout stonily through a Church video – I’m sure it’s a treat)"

{grins} You're not the only one.

At March 13, 2006 9:43 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

I hate crying, too. I cannot for the life of me understand my roommate; she tends to cry at the drop of a pin.

Hahah. I remember asking my mom the same question when I was little. I still don't understand (see above comment) and tend to roll my eyes (at least mentally) when someone does start to cry happy tears. Never in my life have a cried happy tears.

At March 15, 2006 1:27 PM, Anonymous Squirrel Boy said...

Honestly, I think too many people around here assume that overwhelming emotions go along with the Spirit, so if they're feeling overwhelming emotions, it must be the Spirit. Like FoxyJ, I usually just feel peaceful and clearheaded when I'm feeling the Spirit, like I'm stepping back and seeing things from a perspective just a little closer to God's.

At March 19, 2006 4:02 PM, Blogger Miss Hass said...

For some reason, I became a crier after my mission. But not for spiritual things. I would cry at cheesy music videos and commercials--and I still do. The spirit speaks to me in a completely different way.


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