Gary Nelson writes about "Getting Churchy in a Time of Chaos" in the Huffington Post:
I had a meltdown one year ago in the spring. A personal experience I now choose to make public. Fear and depression seeped in through the unlocked door and met me square in the face, confronting me with truths about my health and mortality. I retreated into myself and tried to find that essence of what I call "me" to fight back. It was nowhere to be found, missing in action. The familiar soon became the strange. I used to think that if I sat in my most comfortable chair, sipping on coffee, eventually I would come to a place in my mind where peace would reign supreme. Not this time. Comfort was fleeting and even somewhat elusive. Even sleep, normally my respite, became another dance with the unwelcome strangers.
It is at times like this that I find myself not only vulnerable, but skeptical as well. My physician recommended anti-anxiety medications which, I was told, would kick in anywhere between two to six weeks. I did the Googling and discovered that SSRIs are more effective with people who are severely depressed. For those like me, who are in the moderate range, the effectiveness is less than stellar. I gave it a shot though, and depended more or less on the placebo effect, or the medication, to take hold of my fear and pain.
The meds didn't seem to be enough. I had a yearning for something else, more permanent, which is why I turned to a church. Always one to tell others that religion has been a crutch for the weak, and the cause of wars, prejudices and everything abhorrent, I had to eat a little crow. It was worth it though, because I found something I was looking for, at least for now, in the most unlikely of places.
About one city block from the Stonewall Jackson Monument in Richmond, Va., I found St Mark's Episcopal Church. Being in the heart of this former Capital of the Confederacy, I was surprised to see them advertise as being "an inclusive church," which is a code for gay friendly. My first foray into the sanctuary came on an evening in March when there was to be a candlelight prayer service. More prayer, less of a sermon, caught my attention. I was greeted by the Rector in the narthex who held her arms open and welcomed me to St. Mark's. She told me if I liked the service, I should come back for more on Sunday.
Read it all here.
h/t to Margaret Watson