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.