This is where my thoughts keep wondering too. I know it is not technically the solstice anymore. I think this is also appropriate for the end of the year post as well. My plans for the coming year is to keep learning, growing and slowly blossoming to who I really am. Some of that takes really nitty gritty work, like self analysis.
Growing up I was often at many kinds of churches. Catholic, Mennonite, Lutheran, Baptist,Methodist. I never really bonded with it and it took me a long time to realize that. A really long time. The first year of trying to discover what I truly believed, what resonated the most with me was hard. There was so much guilt and shame and feeling like I am breaking all the rules all the time going on. I would not say I am totally past that but I am farther than I was. There was no moment where I could define I was a christian and then I was not. There was no event that outlined it for me. I started really looking into things. At first it was fine, I found that things lined up with the Bible. Didn’t that mean it was the word of god? I thought so for a while. Then the thought there are other books who also can be verified by archaeology.
When I walked through the doors of the Unitarian Universalist church, everyone was so nice. Not fake smile and hand shake nice but truly happy to see me. They didn’t even know me! Genuine emotion just can not be faked. The first sermon I ever attended there was about Wicca traditions of Halloween. I was still transforming then and certain words made me twitch and squirm. Wicca, ritual. Not once in the entire sermon did I feel like I was a bad person. Not once did I feel like I had done something wrong, had something to be guilty over or needed cleaned. In fact, I felt fulfilled and satisfied and renewed in a way I had never felt before.I read all I could about Unitarian Universalism and it was like someone had been in my head.
Our search for a church was slightly flawed when we were looking for one that would blend both my beliefs and my husbands. We accepted a church where, we believed most of what they believed. Mostly. I was so frustrated that at times I just said I didn’t care. I never had that true spiritual connection though. I thought maybe if I just kept going it would happen. In fact the only times I had any kind of connection was when I explored outside the christian religion. I kept shying away because that was bad stuff, evil stuff, guilty stuff. If you admitted you looked there you were chastised. It felt like something I should be shameful of. If I admitted I sometimes felt the presence of those gone before, don’t wonder down that road! Unless you think it was Gods presence, you should flee from those. What if it felt innate? I was assured over and over it was the work of the devil, Satan and I would surely go to Hell. I was shutting out a part of me. I always felt that there was a female God and a Male God. I don’t even know where the thought came from, it seemed an inner knowledge. If I brought this up it was always met with aghast reactions.
Then there was this performance for harp for my daughter. It was at a Baptist church. We had been Baptist for awhile. So here was my daughter who was too young to really remember much about that Baptist church she was in for the first two years of her life. Asking questions. I realized I had some more letting go to do. I had some more scorn and hurt and anger to let go of. I tried to keep things objective. I tried but I don’t think I did too well at first. In the end I told her I had to find what made my soul happy. What my inner voice agreed with. If I was going to have faith in something I needed to believe it completely and totally. I told her it was okay to change what you believe when presented with information. I told her it was okay to think for herself and to use her soul TO think.
I am glad we went to our church afterwards. It helps when she hears things from more than one source. I am glad she has someone to turn to in our church to ask questions.
I still struggle with my own spiritual path. How can I explain this to her without being judgmental. How to communicate this while also communicating our first principle? Every person has inherit worth and dignity. How to communicate this without trampling all over the fourth principle. Everyone has a right to search for truth. How to explain to my daughter that everyone has a different path, that’s okay and in fact should be celebrated. We can celebrate with others even when it comes to religious or spiritual achievements or growths. We don’t have to believe what they believe. They are happy, so we are happy for them.Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations, our third principle. This is the best way to promote a peaceful world as the seventh principle says. More inward thought and reflection, more letting go, more searching for inner peace. This is what my hopes are for the coming year.