Fall is typically a gnarly time for me. I read The Revelation of St. John The Divine in the fall of my 12th year, and I don't think I ever really recovered from that. Confront a healthy, cared-for child with historical record, and he will imagine himself into the scenario and come up with ways to deal with it. Confront the same child with prophecy, and all bets are off.
When read existentially, the Revelation presents itself as a future history. The gods are very much alive, but they are not well; they are, in fact, rabid. Their Father is unrolling the final scroll of history, and He's going to deal with this scourge for once and for all, but it never really sounds as if His chief concern is with humanity. In fact, the significance of humanity is actually somewhat questionable.
This canvas has no space for a developing ego to assert/insert itself. Adolescents aren't prepared for that sort of “paradigm shift.” There is nothing to shift to: it's a paradigm eviscerator.
I couldn't snap out of my panic. I paced the house. I stayed awake, trying to hatch some sort of escape plan. I worried my parents. I generously shared my torments with my younger siblings. One night, my mother finally had enough of this. She ordered me out of the house and to the church basement, where my father was holding a Bible study.
I crept in and took a seat among the grown-ups. No-one seemed to think this was strange — they continued their conversation as if I were one of them. I can't recall the text being discussed, but it was generating questions from these men and women. I gradually got a picture of adults who were worried for family members: children, parents, distant relatives. Adults who didn't have complete control over their environment and who were anxious.
It was a strange night, but it calmed me down. I loved the fact that these adults — grown men in their suits and ties, women with an imperious sense of humor — were uncertain. I didn't feel so alien and utterly alone, which was proving to be my chief source of anxiety.
This was my first experience of sanctuary. It happened in a church, so that's one significant reason why I still go.