I feel I have to say something here about myself and my beliefs. As a new member to this site, I am finding it a bit uncomfortable and intimidating. I am afraid that I am going to offend some of not many of you, so I find that I don’t post. That is not what I want for myself. I want to be able to be my true self and still be part of a community. I think, even though I question much of my Christian past, I am not ready to walk away from it. I still love and believe in Jesus, but not all the dogma that fills the Christian Church. However, I am not an agnostic, as I have experienced the presence of God in my life over and over again. So I find myself between a rock and a hard place, accepted nowhere unless I wear a mask or hide my beliefs. I refuse to do that anymore.
I believe in a supreme creator, a force in, around and through all things, who is love, unconditional and assessible to any who are seeking. I think that many religious texts, or spiritual traditions exist which tell the same messages in different metaphorical universes. In other words, the creator speaks to us in whatever language we use. I was raised with the Bible, and parts of it are still precious to me, especially the gospels and psalms. I love the old hymns as well as many of the modern choruses. I like the Tao Tai Ching, and much of the writings of Buddhist teachers. But I use “church lingo” often since that is part of my affirmations and my past.
I believe that each of us has our own spiritual path to walk. My walk, my belief, my experience is mine alone. I would never presume to tell you what yours should be. However, I don’t want to be put down because of the words I use, nor told, as I have been before, that I am naive and just hanging on to foolish superstition with my belief in prayer and a loving God who listens to me.
My prayer life is very important to me. I value silence, just sitting listening to the sounds of nature outside, to the thoughts in my head, to feeling the air around me, the sun on my face or the rain on the roof, filling my spirit with the joy and awe of the Lord.. there is a majesty, a sense of wonder for me there. As a Quaker, I learned to call it centering myself, later my study of Oriental philosophy learned to call it meditation. I just call it prayer and it keeps me sane and somewhat whole.
I have found, in my life, looking back at it, that even in the middle of sorrows, troubles, or seeming disasters, I can see there was good that came out of it and that often, had things gone the way I thought they should, the disaster would have been greater. Therefore, I have learned that there is often a purpose in what happens that is not apparent at the time. Means that I have learned to trust God, that I am learning the art of faith. It also means, that I try to choose joy, to look for the good in the midst of the storm. Doesn’t work all the time, as I do suffer from chemical depression, so often I am singing praises through my tears. However, I am not a Pollyanna. I know that bad things happen to good people. I have no answers for that. As one of my friends say, “That is above my pay grade”. I believe that all people have been created in the image of God and that His/Her spirit is within everyone, so I try to look for God in each person I meet. I will admit, however, that I fail at this one very frequently.
So here it is, the real me. I am going to speak my mind. I am going to use the language I know to describe what I am feeling, experiencing. If this is going to be a problem here, I want to know it now rather than later. I know I don’t have all the answers, believe that they are impossible to find in one lifetime, but my search will be ongoing until I die to this body and hopefully beyond. I don’t want to offend anyone. I am not here to convert anyone. I know that I have barely scratched the surface of what spiritual means or the nature of my walk with God. I just want a place where I can think aloud and mull over my thoughts with others. I am hopeful that this truely is that sort of place.