When I was a holy roller, I used to praise God. And I mean hands in the air, face lifted to the ceiling, mouth open, tears-streaming-down praise. Yeah, the kind of praising that makes the average person nervous.
When I go back to church, I will praise like that again. Somehow, it makes me feel good to go out of myself and focus on something else.
But God doesn't need to know from me that He's doing a good job (or not). I've read in His own Bible that if I don't say anything, the rocks will cry out. And that if He had a problem, He wouldn't tell me anyway.
Plus, I'm not in church, in any conventional sense, anymore. I can't seem to let a man tell me how to live anymore. If Christ were here (again) I'd probably do like the apostle John, and just lay my head on his breast all day and all night, and never move from that spot. ("Hey Jesus, what's that you got attached to your robe?" "Just leave him be, Peter. He's had a hard life and he needs this.") But when it comes to hearing from Peter--I'm not so interested. I mean, yeh, Peter, you've got insight and you've hung out with the Christ and walked briefly on the water too, but um, how's about that ear you lopped off? A little hot-headed, aren't we? Come back to me when you can fix it so's you never denied Christ three times. What, no TARDIS handy to go back in time and prevent it? Okay then, we're in the same boat. Hows about neither one of us tell each other how to live, unless I ask you, mmkay?
So who do I praise now? I find I'm easy to criticize and disapprove (see the above anti-Peter rant), but that's just my nasty now roiling around inside like intestinal parasites. They exist and they serve, but what they produce stinks like crap and I'd sooner not acknowledge them at all.
But it's in praise that I feel my ability to love. And love feels good. I've grown up not knowing how to love anyone, really, except The Big Invisible Kahuna In The Sky. Not getting love. Not even being familiar with the roadmarks on the map ever-so-tangientally related to love.
So I praise you. I praise you because you matter. I feel my heart when I see your progress. Your successes. Your triumphs. I praise you because I know how hard it is to be who you are, and how much work it takes to achieve what you have, and how much it hurts when you've had to retreat because of failure. How devastating it is and how much you want to curl up and die when it happens. I praise you because I am you.
And dammit, I praise you because we deserve it.