Thursday, March 24, 2016
GATHER / road of the spiritual
Fair warning, this post is deeply personal. It might not resonate, but it was on my mind and heart and I wanted to explore how it felt to write it down.
I didn't grow up with religion; with God, with a focus on mystical, the eternal, the ever-changing or the bigger picture. My whole life it felt a lot like moving ahead into the unknown without a road and only a few companions. I clung to my family, that unit of three, for so much of my needs, desires, and roles. I poured who I was into who they are. There was a lot of discomfort and unease in faith among my family. My dad grew up in a traditionally religious household, I think it was mostly a remnant of how his parents grew up, and they wanted their kids to be rooted in those steadfast traditions. When my dad left his family home, he decided with thoughtful intentions, that that wasn't the best practice for him. My mom grew up in a household that firmly explored eastern religious practices and I think my mom soaked up observations about the beauty of religious tradition without necessarily putting any of them into practice. I think for my dad, religion was confiding and for my mom the traditions, not the tenants of faith, was just something beautiful to behold. My parents gave my sister and I a wide berth for exploring how we wanted to be in this world; but religion kind of never came up. We indulged the periodic visit to a church a Christmas, but it was never rooted in a belief in any sort of God. And quite frankly, my dad has a bit of disdain for the whole church thing, for those angry and loud Christians in the news that seem to be trying to exclude anyone and everyone from their inclusive faith. It's just not something my parents are seeking to explore or understand. But, for me, it has made this whole exploration of faith and religion thing quite difficult. It's one of the first real moments of learning to pave my own path with regards to how I want this whole faith thing to play out in my life.
I have had the esteem privilege of getting uncomfortable in faith these past five years. Loving someone whose faith is a central axis onto which everything else moves as been such an interesting journey to be a witness to. As I find myself walking with open eyes to my next decade, I keep coming back to that space of grace. There is something so beautiful in surrendering to that bigness; that forever loving figure gently and quietly communing through your prayers; that trust that someone else has a bigger plan and we can rest gently in our efforts. I love that feeling of big love, of surrender, of a deep deep inhale followed by that sweet exhale. But for some reason, I cannot just walk blindly into this understanding. It's taking some searching and questioning and exploring into the unknown. I know that it's worth being curious about because when I am a witness to it in others something softens within my heart.
I can feel it's soft seeking, it's call to ask more and let go of how I have come to misunderstand this whole faith thing. I don't think my faith will ever be rooted in a church, or in a institution, but rather in intuition and exploration. I think God is alright with that. I think he gets that we are all on our own path, and it doesn't have to look the same for anyone.
Does this feel similar to any of you out there?
How are you exploring in your faith and belief systems?
Do they tie you down or lift you up?
Do you struggle with how much to pour into them?
I am so very interested.