Questions that I get from time to time; only the brave approach me with this: Do you still believe in God? Will you ever go back to church? Here are the answers: Yes, but probably not the way you believe. Yes, but I don’t see myself becoming a member. A few weeks ago I went to a church with my friend and her family. We attended her baby’s dedication. It was the first time in seven years that I have attended a church without having a panic attack. I was able to take the church experience lighter than I have in the past. I appreciate the history of churches, and how that brings comfort to most people. I love the beautiful architecture of churches. And I am a sucker for stained glass windows. However, I don’t like sitting in a group of people while one man (or woman) sits up front and tells me what to believe. I found myself agreeing with a few things this pastor spoke about. I also had a lot of questions. The frustrating part about having questions is that I cannot ask them right away. I would have to arrange a meeting. The thought of a meeting with a pastor brings up all sorts of anxiety. I decided I most likely wouldn’t like or agree with his answers. I have decided that if going to church brings peace to others, then that is okay. The routine and ritual can bring comfort.
There are leaders who are abusers of power in any organization. It is so painful and familiar to me when I hear of a child being abused by someone in power at a church. I know this happens within families, at schools, daycares, and countless other places. People can be evil, selfish, and cruel. I hope that my children never suffer abuse. I realize also that there is no way I am going to be able to protect them all the time. I do my best. I follow my gut, and I speak up when I am uncomfortable with a situation. My goal is to raise strong independent children who speak up for themselves. It is really hard giving up what control I thought I had and realizing that I will not always be there for my kids.
My beliefs are based on my soul, spirit, and experiences. I am spiritual, but not religious. I have felt an encouraging hand on my shoulder, only to look over and see no one there. I have had prophetic dreams, and visits from friends and family who have passed away. Endless encounters where I have received gifts from the universe. I have felt protected when narrowly avoiding disaster. I will not justify nor let anyone belittle my experiences. I do not have a name for my entity or beliefs. Call it the Universe, God, Spirit, Karma, Great Divine Mother, whatever you like. I feel peaceful when I get a sign that I am doing the right thing, or I need to turn away. I take my signs, listen to my gut, and voice feelings and concerns. I have a right to my feelings, even when I know they are not “right”. I can be judgmental, I am normal. This life is a journey, and I will not struggle to be something I am not. I spent so many years with my fists balled up and biting my lip. I am free now, and I believe in love, compassion, and peace.