Growing up in the Church, my family was always “that family.” We were the spiritual, weird people. Our family history is ridded with intense, bizarre stories and experiences of our spiritual gifts manifesting in peculiar ways.
I’ve alway been an intuitive person, I’m really sensitive to other people’s spiritual atmospheres. In my community, people with this type of spiritual sensitivity are called “feelers.” Going to the movies is a journey for me. When a story is being told, it evokes emotions by the viewers/listeners. Story stimulates people’s judgments and their spiritual agreements. When those agreements are engaged, they emit frequencies into the spiritual realm. I pick up on those frequencies whether I mean to or not. I usually have to get alone after going to a movie to sort through the residue; I try to embrace what feelings I experienced during the movie that were mine and disconnect from the ones that were not.
Last year, my mom and I went to see the new Star Wars movie, “The Force Awakens.” Epic adventure, destiny, supernatural abilities, a hero’s journey, what a fun movie! Like any movie theater experience, emotions and desires were swirling around in the room. As the credits rolled, I became aware of the aftermath weighing on my chest and soul, I started shutting down emotionally. My mom wanted to celebrate the experience and kept talking about how much fun the movie was. I tried celebrating with her but I did not feel safe to express myself in that space. If I carelessly express my thoughts and opinions while the presence of unwanted spiritual influences are on me, I can easily and accidentally agree with an evil spirit (like fear, rejection, insignificance, etc.,) and give it permission to mess with me.
We left the movie theater and I went to the bathroom. This was a mistake. There was a long line of men and young boys who had just seen the movie with me. The atmosphere in the bathroom was poignant. All of the wishful jedi knights and rebel pilots waited their turn in a line wafting of disappointment and sobriety.
They had just had a thrilling ride and now they were on the crash back to reality where the boring details of their “ordinary, insignificant life” were coming back into focus, clinging to their existence like a parasite. I hated being there, it felt terrible. It felt like something was clawing at my soul, trying to get in, something I didn’t even want to touch me; something unclean and sinister. I left as soon as I could and found my mom in the lobby talking to a storm trooper.
“Take our picture!” She cheered and handed me her phone.
*Sigh “Okay…” I replied obligatorily.
I realized in that moment, my attitude did not line up with what was happening. “She’s allowed to be excited, she’s allowed to have fun. What is my problem?” I thought to myself. I had been having this conversation with myself concerning my mom...my whole life. This wasn’t a new process for me. But this time, I was way more aware and conscious of these dynamics than I had ever been.
I had undergone years of wrestling with this in my relationship with my mother, countless experiences of being embarrassed by her, feeling threatened by her jubilant disposition, feeling resentful for her perceived carelessness and lack of regard for my feelings. I came across broody and angsty because of the clash of our experiences.
We got in the car, with a thirty minute drive ahead of us until we got home. She kept bringing up different aspects of the movie she loved and I kept giving her half-hearted responses, grimacing as I forced myself to try and emote. Finally, at a stop light, I looked out the window and confessed, “Mom, I’m sorry, I’m not going to be able to talk about the movie right now. There was a lot going on in that room and it doesn’t feel safe for me to express myself right now.”
“Oh, okay.” She said, surprised. “What was going on in the room?”
“All of this fantasy and then disappointment, it was intense. I have to sort through what I’m feeling later to find my own emotions.”
“Wow, our giftings are very different.”
“Hahaha!!! THAT’S your response to me right now?”
“Yeah, I just had a good time!”
It was in this moment that I realized a very specific dynamic in my relationship with my mom that I never understood before. She couldn’t feel all of the swarming emotions and desires, she was just watching a movie. So many times, I felt like she was pushing me into a spotlight I wasn’t ready to be under. She would try to connect emotionally and I would interpret her pursuit as selfish, careless and unsafe. Perhaps my mom wasn’t as delinquent as I had thought growing up.
I never realized our spiritual gifts largely impacted the way we experienced each other, I was amazed at this realization. I wondered how many other parent-child dynamics were strained or confusing because they didn’t understand how each other’s spiritual gifts functioned in them. By recognizing and understanding how we operate on a spiritual level, we actually get to pave the way to mutual respect, trust and an effective exchange of love. I daresay this isn’t just an opportunity, it’s a necessity.