loooong post, lol>
Today marks the first day I have been to church in a very long time. It’s been since 2001….not counting the time I went to church to see my niece get baptized. I’m not looking to believe something, I already have beliefs, but for other reasons, of which there are a few.
I like the feeling of community that a church can provide, gathered around other people whose intent it is to make themselves better and better the lives of those around them. I’m not going to get into what I believe or don’t believe because I feel that is up to each person to make up their own minds on the matter. It’s a very personal journey for most and a difficult one at that.
Another reason is that Mr. 72 attends church every Sunday without fail. Now this isn’t the main reason I decided to go but it is a reason. I do pray, a lot. Usually I walk around my house talking out loud and if people saw me doing this they would think I’m nutz but in reality I am talking to whoever may be listening (ancestors, god, whoever). I’m usually asking for help, or strength, or compassion. I don’t place myself into one religion entirely…I pull what I believe out of my own heart and then if that happens to be a part of an organized belief system, then so be it, great. But to the point, I want to be able to pray with Mr 72. This is something I think is very important to share with your life partner. I think he knows what my basic beliefs are, I think. There’s probably room for growth on that conversation. I want us to grow together and I don’t feel we can grow together without praying together. This aspect was totally forbidden in my last relationship and it failed, I believe that was a huge part of it.
When I pray, its more like meditation. Sometimes I say nothing at all and just quiet my mind and sit in stillness. I let whatever is going to happen or not happen, happen. I think this is why I am so drawn to yoga. Not just the physical practice but this is where I feel the most connected to the god I believe in. The pastor brought up a topic today about how society has become so narcissistic. I completely agree. So many people are willing to put themselves first before anyone else. Even some people who I wouldn’t classify as narcissistic have some definite narcissistic behaviors. I think this is an area for improvement for all human beings. Throughout his sermon I kept thinking….if only the congregation would go to yoga and study the practice, I think this concept is so easy to understand. I try my best everyday to not be someone I am ashamed of, to be someone who is giving, to be someone I would be proud to know. Maybe the pastor should have used the Bhagavad Gita to help explain his point. Nishkama Karma means Selfless Action, service without selfishness. It is kind of ironic that the first sermon I hear upon return to church is about the main belief I have, karma.
karmaṇy evādhikāras te
mā phaleṣu kadācana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr
mā te sańgo ‘stv akarmaṇi
Translation: “You certainly have the right for perscribed activities but never at any time in their results. You should never be motivated by the results of the actions, nor should there be any attachment in not doing your perscribed activities.” (ref)
When I lost my job a few months ago, I left the anger go to karma. When I went through a divorce, I could only control my reactions and relied on karma to deal with the rest. I don’t get it right all the time, but I try, and that’s all someone can ask you to do.
The pastor posed the question of who our hero is….I’m sure the answer for most people there was Jesus, but mine was my dad. My dad has always been compassionate, giving, full of strength, and willing to give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it. (I’m pretty sure he has done this). He amazes me every day because he is capable of finding ways to help….anyone, even people he doesn’t like very much. My dad has worked very hard for the life he has now but has always managed to give whenever he could, even if all he had was just a dollar or some labor he could offer, if someone needed it. He is my hero and someone I aspire to be like. I remember something he said to me when I was in high school, “If you grew up in the same situation as someone else, raised by the same people, had the same experiences, you would be just like them”. Every time I judge someone or am rude or not as nice as I could be….I remember that, and it changes my attitude quickly. Compassion and empathy.
I enjoyed going to church, I didn’t agree with all of it but I don’t think you have to, nor do I think you should. I think it is the journey of every human being to question what they hear, take what works for them, and leave the rest.
The reason I was so hesitant to go to church was because of bringing Smiles. I’m not sure yet how I want to approach this subject with him. I don’t know how to explain what I would like him to believe and how to explain the different between going to church and his own personal beliefs. I rationalized that as of today, he doesn’t understand, but for an hour or so a week, he can play with other kids, enjoy some kindness from strangers, and hopefully make some friends. I plan of exposing him to everything and seeing where that journey takes him, as it might be different from my own.
I will be going back. I really did enjoy it. We will see where this journey takes us.