Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Who Needs Religion?

If there is one constant in my life it is that I know that I need religion. Others do not, and that's great. Sometimes I envy those people. But I am not one of them.There has never been a time where I haven't sought out religious/spiritual fulfillment in some way, and I can't imagine a life (for me) where I didn't... "do" religion. It's just so ingrained in me. Many of my beliefs might (and always sometimes do) change over time, but I've always believed in something, and that something has always been an important part of my life.When I don't make my spiritual life a priority, other parts of my life suffer. I didn't realize that until very recently (although I shouldn't be surprised, how long have I been living with myself?). I remember one evening when I was talking to Kourtney about some spiritual problem, she looked at me and asked, "Why do you need religion so bad?" I don't even remember how I replied, but thinking back I remember feeling taken aback.  Who doesn't need religion, I thought.

Then I felt a little stupid, because I know plenty of people who don't need religion, and that includes Kourtney. I don't know how I managed to fall in love with someone who is so different than me in this regard (although I'm glad that I did, make no mistake).  I mean, I have always been spiritual, and I have always felt the most comfortable in spaces where there is an element of religious/spiritual acceptance and acknowledgement. I was raised Christian, but not everyone in my family would necessarily identify or experience the divine that way.  But no matter the religious affiliation, there was always spirit, an acknowledgement of things that are above and beyond us, that connects us with others. So,  that's what I've grown up with, an acknowledgement and appreciation for spirit, a love for it and a need for it. Spirit is a safe haven, it's a conduit for connection with others, and it feeds my soul. But that's just how my family has raised me-- it's not the same for many of my friends. I don't think Kourtney's family participated in any religious activities, and I don't think there was any focus on spirituality when she was growing up. I grew up going to church, reading the bible, praying before meals and going to church camp. I also was exposed to other religions and spiritual ideas like Judaism and Buddhism and Paganism. I was raised with the understanding that spirituality is really important.

For Kourtney it's just not a priority, and when I realized that it shocked me. It wasn't as if she experienced religion and rejected it-- she's not an atheist. I think I would understand it more if she were. She doesn't know if there is a higher power, but it doesn't matter because she doesn't need to know. It's not something that is important to her. And not in the way that rich people don't think that poor people's welfare is important or like how some republicans don't think that a woman's autonomy is important. It doesn't come from a place of dismissal. It's more like a... "does not compute" kind of way. Like of course it's not important to her, it's never been a part of her life! Duh! And that means, for her, that it might never be top priority. She's open to exploring, but it's not on the top of her to-do list, much like cleaning the house is pretty much NEVER on the top of mine. I can accept that, although at times it still has me confused. I've also come to admire it, because it adds a new perspective to my life, and makes me think.

I'm not sure what prompted me to post this, except that I'm going through a bit of a spiritual transformation that has got me excited and giddy, and I often wonder what Kourtney thinks about it all. Does she think I'm crazy? Weird? I don't know. Part of me is afraid to ask. I view my spiritual path as a maze-- a journey that has many twists and turns, some paths leading to dead ends, and others taking me to places I never thought to imagine. To someone who lives outside of my brain, it may seem that I simply can't commit, that I just bounce from thought to thought and path to path-- but to me it's all part of the journey.

I have more to say about what I'm experiencing, but I'm not sure I'm ready to share it. Perhaps in the coming months, when I'm more sure of where I'm heading. But for now, suffice it to say that my path, once again, has taken a turn. Everything changes. And for once, I'm excited about it.

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