I was inspired. Betchya didn’t see this one coming ;).
If you’ve read enough of this blog, you’ve read the gist of my spiritual and religious history. It’s chock-filled with doubts, insecurities, and slamming the door in God’s face OVER and OVER again. You also probably know that when I lived in Rhode Island I fell in LOVE with my church and the family I made there. And three months after leaving I still miss them all like crazy, and I still try to keep in touch with my closest friends. I sometimes wonder why I connected so much there. Maybe it was the progressiveness of the church – and how they TRULY accepted every single person who walked through their door. They actively advocated for people of all race, gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, monetary status, etc. They accepted me in, a single, 20-something who began attending by herself – and I was taken in like a daughter by my new pastors and friends.
Okay, soppy shit aside, the point is, we Love one another. They took me in, Loved me, and I Loved them in return. Because that’s what it’s about. It took me a while to realize this. Growing up in a Roman-Catholic church, I thought I had to confess to a priest and get through the seven sacraments and become a nun and never, ever sin to find God. I thought that the only way to experience God was on a Sunday morning after CCD, sitting in that gargantuan, stained-glass castle, while I listened to the Priest tell me I wasn’t good enough and I could never confess enough for God, and read to me from a big ‘ol book that made NO sense to me.
I was young. I stopped attending church when I was 12. Before that, I did sing in choir, which gave me a new experience, and gave my voice the training it needed to actually be decent as I grew up, but I digress. In the ten years between leaving the Catholic Church and finding a way to worship again, I looked for God everywhere. I looked to ancient religions, modern religions, obscure religions. I also began to fear the word “God” and refused to think of Jesus as anyone remotely relevant. Some worked for a time, and some didn’t. But at the same time…my life fell apart. Again, if you’ve read any of this blog, you have an idea of what my high school and college years were like – I won’t get into that here it’s not the time. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was all for a reason. It was all a part of my journey. Do I hate that I went through it? Of course. But do I think God was smiting me and forcing me to suffer for no reason? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t trade my experience with my EDNOS or depression or self-harm with anything. Because it’s a huge part of who I am right now, in this moment, when I thank God for all the good that is in my life right now.
Okay, I’m getting soppy again. MY POINT IS: I looked in all the wrong places, until I started to think of God differently. Instead of a big, angry man sitting in the sky judging me, I learned to see God as Love. Pure, unsurpassed, never-ending Love. And then I came to find my place in the church. And then I came to realize what I really believed about God, Jesus, The Bible, and worship. God is Love. And Love is everything. It’s everywhere. And it is the only thing that matters in this world. Jesus was a teacher, yep. And he taught about Love. He taught his followers to love God (or love, love, worship LOVE, experience LOVE) above all, and to Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it. Not too hard.
I find God when I get on my yoga mat, and in the bustle of the downtown noise I find a moment of silence in my head and I can fully hear my breath, my heartbeat, and the essence of my life, that’s God. I hear God in your laughter, and I see Him when the world outside is so quiet I don’t want to move for fear of ruining it. God isn’t in a building, and he isn’t in a book. He’s in the people that make up your life – the good and the bad, because they are equally important. He’s in the ground and the trees and the storms and the wildlife. Do I love the Bible that I have on my nightstand? I do. It’s calmed me and comforted me in many a dark and distressful time, when nothing else could. Do I take every single word as rote law and creed? Hardly. Because I know it was written thousands of years ago by many, many hands in many, many languages and we often interpret it wrong. So I take what I need and leave the rest.
And I’ll always take the Love.
Have a beautiful day, xx.
“For your steadfast Love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness.”
Psalm 26:3 (ESV)