I’m coming to a spiritual crossroads right now and yes it is very frightening but I am doing what I need to do to find myself. I am doing some deep soul searching and trying to figure out how I want to identify and what I truly believe.
I am exhausted fighting the church on social justice issues and it breaks my heart to become aware of just how many Christians are indifferent or in favor of others’ oppression. Even though I have had many wonderful experiences with people who were loving towards me who are Christian, how would I know if they would love me the same if I were to hypothetically not be Christian anymore?
I am afraid of being treated like non-Christians get treated. I am afraid of not belonging to a supportive network. I know that they are supposed to love me and support me the same but will they? I am afraid to find out.
I am afraid to be cut off and to be rejected yet again. I am already rejected by society in so many ways. I don’t care to be alone. I have loved all my friends, my atheist friends, my Christian friends, my agnostic friends and my spiritual friends.
For me I feel like I am on a journey. I currently identify as Christian but that might change. It might not change. What I truly want is to know that this is what I truly believe in not because people pressured me or because I have the bias default of my upbringing. Many people do not understand how hard it is when you cannot undo it. I don’t wish my Christian upbringing to have been undone.
What I do wish to know is this me or am I just reflecting what I have been taught? Do I really believe it myself, or am I just a mirror? I am about to turn twenty-seven years old. I am a grown woman and I don’t want to do anything simply because. I have never been one to follow the crowd just because. Sure there have been doubts I kept to myself but those doubts are coming to the surface now that I’m older and I need to face them to become my authentic self.
I have no doubts about God’s existence. I have doubts about the institution of religion and the church. That’s ok because church and religion are man-made structures. To be honest for awhile now I have been thinking that spiritual is something that I more so identify with. I believe in God, I get stuff out of church sometimes when I go sometimes but as far as being a devout bible thumping Christian? I am quite far from that.
I remember when I was about to leave for Guatemala and I was so conflicted. My Catholic mother handed me a rosary and said here take this. To me rosaries and Saints are like good luck charms. Do I really believe they will work? Maybe, but I figure hey I can use all the luck I can get, might as well. It’s more of a take it or leave it kind of thing. I don’t feel a need or urge to pray to saints or pray the rosary which is hella long ugh.
Mom gave me rosaries when I went to college. Stuff was done out of habit. I took what she gave me because I saw it as a sign that she cared for me deeply and wanted to to give me whatever she thought would protect me. Whether it really worked or was just a symbol didn’t matter. I knew that her intentions were benign and coming from the concern of a loving mother.
But I felt bad because this time, when I went away to Guatemala, I didn’t accept the rosary she offered me. We didn’t fight, it was casual, I simply said, no, I don’t need that. I got to thinking to myself, why did I not take it, even if I didn’t believe in it, if taking it would have made my mother’s feelings put to rest about my safety wasn’t it worth lying to her and accepting it?
This is one of the reasons I have so many tears in my paintings. I have a lot of internal conflict going on and a lot of things to think about in a spiritual sense. I know there are those that would say I ought to abandon all of it but that’s not what I want to do. At least, I certainly am not ready to do so yet. I would say at this point, that no I have little to no desire to be an athiest. I believe deeply in the presence of spirits and the supernatural. I feel auras and vibes and I am an empath. I cannot deny those truths because they are my truths whether someone else acknowledges them or not.
Whether it is God or some other entity or entities or forces in the universe, I do believe strongly in that. However, do I agree with most Christian dogma and doctrine? No, I do not. I agree with some, but certainly not all.
There are those who say, one cannot be a part time Christian, it’s either all or nothing. I wouldn’t refer to myself as a part time Christian ever. Every day I do what I can to better myself and to help other people’s lives for the better and I swear if that isn’t good enough for God than I most definitely could care less. That is the best that I can do. Be a good person and be good to others, to love and to give and that’s primarily what Jesus taught. I think even for non-Christians that Jesus is a good figure to emulate and to admire. There are some non-Christians who do.
Anyway I am on a journey. I ask myself deep questions. What will I do if I wake up one day and I don’t believe in anything or anyone? I don’t want to become jaded and empty. Some people see that as freedom, but that’s just not my stance. I am doing what is considered dangerous in most Christian communities. I am asking questions and wondering and thinking and exploring.
I think even though it’s scary in the end I simply don’t want to hurt anyone. I know it’s not my responsibility to sacrifice my well being for the pleasure of others but I come from a family fill of clergy. I honor what they do. I admire them for what they do. Even the two nuns who are my great aunts, at one point I considered becoming a nun because I thought it was so beautiful how much they loved God and people.
I know that in the end I will find my right path whether that involves leaving or staying or leaving and coming back. Everyone has their own journey to self discovery and at the end of the day all I request is that journey be respected. I know some people will reject me for ever moving, but I want to grow, and I want to know, what my heart believes, what my mind believes, what my body feels, what stirs my soul and what my spirit needs and everyone doesn’t have the same binary path.
I am on a journey. Respect my journey.