I just joined TA today after having been 'lurking' for months... so, "Hello!"
I am currently attending an intensive outpatient therapy group that meets every day. I'm dealing with some unresolved, and until very recently, unremembered incidents from my childhood. "Graduating" tomorrow, tyvm!
There are many different types of people in this group, dealing with some pretty serious issues. Even though I'm there as part of the group, folks usually gravitate to me for reassurance and just because I make them feel safe and understood. A woman who started on the same day as I did, came up to me today at break and thanked me profusely for helping her through some things. She thanked me for being so kind, caring, genuine, honest, etc., etc. It was really very humbling. I hugged her and told her that I was happy to have been able to help, blah, yadda... She then said, "You are the most loving Christian I have ever met. Where do you go to church?" I told her I am not a Christian and I do not go to church. She asked, "Well, what religion are you?" I said, "I'm an atheist." She recoiled as if I'd slapped her. Had a mortified look on her face and actually turned and almost ran away from me.
After the break, she sat as far away from me as she physically could and kept staring at me like she was expecting me to whip out a machete and kill everybody in the place. She was so bothered by this that she talked to one of the therapists. I'm assuming it was about me because she kept staring and looking very distressed while she was talking. I honestly think she saw me as dangerous...
I know I shouldn't let this bother me, but it does. Isn't it 'enough' that I am in that group for the same immense pain that everyone else is there for? Isn't it 'enough' that I have never been anything but genuine, kind, caring, compassionate, and loving toward everyone there? Isn't it enough that I have sat through, literally, hours worth of faith-based 'testimonies' about how their god helped them through this or that? Never asking the question, "Well, where was your god when all this crap was happening to you?!" ... and I wanted to. But I respect people and their beliefs - always have.
Am I not allowed to appreciate things without putting a "God dun it!" label on everything? During the break, I was outside because there was a brief lull in the rain we've been having here for the past few days. One of the bushes had dozens of teal and silver colored snails in it. I was fascinated! I respected the random "God is amazing to make this" type comments. Why isn't it enough that I enjoyed them for what they are?
Ugh. Yeah, I shouldn't be upset about what happened. But I am. :-(