It doesn’t take long for the vision of solid oak pews lined in rows to come to the front of my memory log. A memory as clear as yesterday: singing hymnals as Shell Anderson’s hands danced across the keys ensuring any of the off tune singers are drowned out by her perfect cords. I disliked Sunday school. Every Sunday morning I begged to stay in big church. I would lay across, belly down, on the burnt orange cushion. My side barely touching the dark oak back. My Great Great Aunt, who I called Ebe, tickled my back. I would drift off just as Brother Harry cued the congregation to open their bible to Luke Chapter 2 Verse 5-10. A church nap is almost as good as a golf nap.
I experience a warmth in my soul as I reminisce of Sunday morning at First Baptist Church. I was safe there, most importantly I felt that safety.
Why is it now that I can’t get there? I can’t seem to find where religion and spirituality either combine or need separation. I’m torn between what I was taught as a child and what I feel as a woman.
I have this internal cry for a deeper self love. A meaningful, healthy self love that allows me to give freely without yearning for approval. I want to break this cycle of damaging self-sacrifice and endless codependency. My soul has been crying out for some time, my emotions have, until recently, made my mind to foggy to see.
My religion taught me that I am nothing without god, the power is in him. What if you can’t connect with that god? On my knees, I have tried tirelessly to connect. Mathew, Mark, Luke and Paul; chapters I am all too familiar with, and could probably quote from if needed. I have believed that only a select few are going to heaven and if you don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross and ask him to forgive your sins you are destined for hell. Today, I just can’t wrap my head around this.
I feel a deep desire to search for an inner peace. It is almost like my inner child is begging me to become aware, to love deeply, to forgive. I need to somehow find a way to exist peacefully within the chaos.
In this season, a dose of self care is my RX. Practicing mindfulness in the smallest of moments is helping me become more aware of today’s gifts. A deeper understanding of my emotions, has given me the rare ability to see others through a different lense. A telescope to their soul, allowing me to love without fear. Self care has given me the opportunity to tap into self kindness. Self kindness is a prerequisite for forgiveness.
As I expose my frailties, one by one, I can feel an opening of kinship moving within myself and between others. I know there is a higher power within me, around me, above and below me. I just can’t seem to define it.