I’m going to talk about something in this post that I don’t think I’ve addressed before on this blog: Spirituality.
I started thinking about this when I was reading all of the Easter posts. Easter is a holiday that I don’t celebrate, and haven’t since I was a kid. I was thinking that it would be fun to do the whole “bunny” part and swap baskets with Greg- which is kind of like a stocking on Christmas, right? And after all – I celebrate the “Santa” part of Christmas…
I’ll start by saying that I am pretty comfortable and happy in my beliefs, and think that they have suited me quite well for the last 30+ years of my life. I am definitely open to others’ opinions (and would in fact, love to hear them), but I’m probably not going to change what I believe in.
Let’s start with my history regarding spirituality and religion. I was never Christened/Baptized as a child. Neither was my older brother (the only sibling of mine that shares both parents blood). Though I know many, many people that do not practice religion, I’ve met very few that were not Christened when they were a baby or a young child. I know that this is due largely to the fact that a lot of people, despite their own beliefts, just think that it’s something that you’re supposed to do as a parent. I’ve also heard quite a few of my friends say that they Christened their child to make the grandparents happy. And then there are several other people that do it because it’s what they believe, and they want to raise their child with the same beliefs. Whatever your reason for doing (or not doing) this act is completely your own and should not be judged.
I’m not exactly sure why my parents decided not to Christen my brother or me. I don’t hold it against them, and respect their decision. I’ve heard my mother say that at the time, they both agreed that my brother and I should make the choice for ourselves as to what our religious beliefs would be when we were old enough to understand. They both also grew up in semi-strict religious households and I think were being a little bit rebellious.
I went to Sunday School at a Methodist church when I was a kid, during my pre-school and early elementary years. My mom would sometimes attend a church service while my brother and I were in Sunday school, but my dad never went. We would go to a service as a family on Christmas and Easter, and that was really it. Though I was exposed to church, and don’t hold any negative connections to it, I never really “got it.” Sunday school was social time- a place where I could play with my friends. And as a kid, I’ll admit that I hated having to wake up early on a Sunday.
After my parents’ divorce when I was in fifth grade, we never attended church again. My dad quickly got into a relationship with a woman that he married a few years later, and started going to church again. And this time he got really involved. They also have raised their two children “in the church.” I have mixed feelings about this. My dad never talks to me about his connection with religion and God, and I’m not sure if he goes because he wants to or because it’s something that’s important to my stepmom. It does kind of rub me the wrong way that he’s so involved with it now, and refused to go with us when I was a kid.
I went to a couple different churches with friends during my middle and high school years, just to see what was out there. Nothing felt right.
In college, I met a lot of Jewish friends and began to explore that religion a bit too. Still, it wasn’t for me. After years of trying to find where I “fit,” I decided that I didn’t need to define or categorize myself into one specific title or church.
Over the last several years, I’ve read a lot about Buddhist beliefs and practices, and for the first time- I feel like I have a connection with a specific religion/lifestyle. Still, I don’t want to categorize myself, because I am not Buddhist. I also relate to a lot of Quaker beliefs, and take ideas and morals from several different religious organizations.
Religion wasn’t really an issue when Greg and I got married last summer. We knew that we didn’t want to get married at a church, because neither of us had a connection to one. The vows that Greg and I spoke were actually traditional Buddhist wedding vows. We chose them because we related to them a lot and spoke of being kind to each other and the earth. Our wedding was at a vineyard, and one of our closest friends (Rob) became ordained so that he could officiate. Our ceremony was beautiful, and the words that Rob spoke, and the words that Greg and I spoke to each other, were very meaningful and powerful to us.
If I had to put a name on what I believe, I’d say that I’m spiritual and feel a deep connection to nature. I believe in a higher power- some sort of God, and I feel it often. I feel the most connection when I’m outside in the woods, or somewhere beautiful like a on top of a mountain or in the middle or a lake in Colorado and can just soak it all in. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel that there is some much higher power that has put this all together, and that I should stop and think about what is really important to me: family, health, being happy.
I don’t think that you have to go to church every Sunday or study the bible or pray before dinner to be religious. I believe that it’s a very personal thing and that is why I rarely share my beliefs on this topic with other people (of course I just shared it with all of you!).