This will be a very honest post, and may offend some people. It’s what I thought about posting today, and I became a little less clear about it just now based on a link I found on Facebook that a relative of mine posted. But I’m still going to write about it anyway.
So here’s the thing. I grew up in a Christian home, very Christian, as in “goes to church every time the doors are open” kind of way. And I don’t deny that or regret it in any way. It influenced who I am, and I’m happy with who I am. But I feel like growing up, that I had faith because the people around me that I knew had faith. But who else was I around? I went to church and to Christian schools, so I never really encountered too many people who didn’t. And then I grew up and moved out and got jobs where I met people who weren’t Christians. Some very smart people that I respected highly, every bit as much as those I knew that were. At first, I felt I should “turn” them, try to get them to see the faith side of the argument, because that was what I knew to be right. But then I started to listen to what they had to say, and I started to doubt my own faith. And it didn’t quite stand up to the test. (I feel like every Christian will read this and see this as a negative thing, but I don’t.)
So I stopped going to church. I got kind of tired of hearing about “following Jesus” or “seeking God”. I mean, here’s this… person, that I don’t even really have proof of his existence (God OR Jesus), and it’s all based on what other people believe and what’s in this one book that’s supposedly been around for ages, but yet is pretty unclear on a lot of things and has been interpreted in about a million different ways. So I just stopped. I declared myself agnostic, just because I don’t know. And I don’t feel like I will ever really know. And I’ve been perfectly happy with that decision ever since then.
But there are things I miss. I miss the community of church, people all getting together to seek a common purpose. And I miss some of the feelings involved in it. I miss some of the ritual. I actually miss getting up on Sunday mornings, stopping for coffee, then heading out to a place where I get to be in community with people who think the same way as me, people who try to learn from each other. I miss the time I got to pray, which to me is basically the same thing as meditation almost, the only difference being you’re thinking/talking to yourself instead of a higher power you believe in. And I miss sharing a meal with those people afterwards and just enjoying each other’s company. To me, those things were spirituality. Those things were what was more important and meant more to me than “seeking God”. And I’m not really sure what that means. I’m not really sure where to find spirituality now. But I do miss it.
Don’t get me wrong, I still feel like I’m a spiritual person. But it’s different now. Spirituality is different. I find it in new places, but I’m looking for more places. More rituals. More community with people. It sounds funny, but I probably find just as much spirituality in poker nights or beer fests than I did at church. To me, those things are the same kind of community. I also find it in yoga classes and meditation. Those things are my prayer or form of “seeking God”. Hey, even going by Christian principles, I’m made in God’s image, right? Those things are a way for me to connect with who I am, the deeper parts of myself… quieting the busy outside world for a while just to listen.
You know, it’s funny, really. I started this blog post with intentions of talking about looking for more ways to get in touch with my spirituality. I was going to talk about my search for it since I left the church. But I think I’ve answered my own question, to some extent. Not that I’ll probably ever stop searching. I do miss things about the church, and I do believe some things about it are good. But I also think that spirituality can be found outside of it, and I’d love even more ways to seek it. So what do you do, those of you that are agnostics and atheists? Are you spiritual at all? What do you do to capture that part of yourself? I’d love to hear from you!