When I was still in high school, my eldest brother, Roger, moved back into the basement of our parent’s home. He brought his young wife, Julie, and their newborn, Benjamin. They planned to stay until they had enough money saved for a down payment on their own house.
Benjamin had colic and would cry for hours on end. My mom offered to take him as often as she could to provide Julie with a break. I offered, too. But only once. His incessant crying wore thin on my teenage nerves.
I had great admiration for my brother. Not only for his patience with dealing with a colicky son but also for enduring an unforgiving extended family. He faced the wrath of our aunts and uncles when he took the stand to leave the Catholic Church.
He told me he’d attended a Christ in Others Retreat (COR) Weekend in Grade 12 with other youth in the parish that whet his appetite for spiritual things. But he felt frustrated by the lack of answers the priest offered to his many questions. This led him to his own spiritual journey and, ultimately, his leaving the Catholic Church.
At one point, he attended Elim Tabernacle in the east end of Peterborough. He invited me to go with him. I agreed.
The bass of the music thumped in my chest. The clap of hands reverberated in my ears. The atmosphere hummed. People had their eyes closed, hands in the air. They rocked back and forth.
I’d never experienced such an outpouring of voices lifted in praise to God. I liked it.
Although the atmosphere felt full of joy, I felt like crying. This mix of emotions confused me.
I didn’t understand that experiencing the Spirit of God could cause tears. The overwhelming experience of the Holy Spirit could make me weep. I had never experienced free-flowing tears at church on Sundays.
Years later, I would become quite accustomed to crying at church when I felt the presence of the Holy One. When the Spirit of God felt so near, the overflow of tears cleansed and softened my heart.
Unlike the loud, high-pitched cry of my colicky nephew, I welcomed the cathartic release of emotions through crying.
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