God made so many different kinds of people. Why would he allow only one way to serve him? ~Martin Buber
We went to Easter service out of habit. In fact, in the last two years I can count on one hand how many times we have been to church, and most of those were because I was performing for the congregation. I used to be an avid church attendee – served on leadership teams, volunteered for the nursery, participated in women’s ministries. Years spent hiding behind bibles and hymnals. My children attended Christian private school for four years and yet, now, we avoid most conversations that revolve around any organized religion. It seemed like the more involved in religion I became, the further away from God I felt.
I believe in God. I believe there is a heaven and a hell, although I’m not completely sure they are physical places anymore. I believe that Jesus Christ walked the earth and was crucified. I believe in His message in its purest form – love one another. I’ve been baptized and confirmed more than once by different faiths, and yet I still have no clearer picture of my “purpose”. But I also believe in universal salvation and that the bible was not divinely written. I want my children to know the difference between tolerance and acceptance and I want them to choose acceptance. I want my children to serve others without strings attached or the promise of salvation – just serve because it is the right thing to do for the people in our communities.
Sitting in church this Easter Sunday I started to daydream – disconnect from the congregation and feel isolated – not included in “one body”. There are just so many conditions to having a relationship with the church.
“I am here Lord” I thought, “I have been here all along, listening, praying, waiting for you to speak to me.”
But yesterday while I was running, my heart and my head spoke to my spirit. My breathing danced with the rhythm of my feet, pounding out beats, step after step, moving in time with the music. I started daydreaming again, but this time about the smiles on my daughters’ faces. Their presence in my life is intoxicating, almost heavenly. There is peace and understanding in living my life fully everyday. There is always a voice speaking to me – it may be my own most of the time but it is there – articulate and concise. I hear that voice clearly in the moments that I am connected to my faith and relationship with God and not distracted by someone else’s opinion of what faith should encompass. Maybe that is enough. Maybe serving our communities, loving each other unconditionally, and listening to our spirit, is the basis of all our purpose.
I have seen glympses of something greater than myself throughout my life, so there is no denying that we are not the center of the universe. There is a greater presence among us – but really I don’t care by what name He goes by or which building He is worshipped and praised. I see God in new beginnings each spring, I’ve felt Him when my children were born and I’ve experienced Him in the pain of disappointment and fear. I do not believe there is a pre-determined plan for my life or that everything happens “for a reason”. Everything happens as a result of our decisions and paths chosen each day.
Life is what it is – we just have to be willing to live with the consequences of all our actions, good or bad.
I think I will run with that for now.