by Pat Antonopoulos
Although I had no intention of being funny, Melinda was laughing. She is scary-smart and has a way of hacking off the fat to pull out the thought needing expression. We have been long distance friends for many years but the reconnects are never awkward.
Actually, whatever made her laugh (and call me on my misbegotten statement) isn't important. Our conversations always lead to new ways of looking at both the current topic and a lot of life decisions.
There has never been a time in my life that I did not long for a spiritual belief system that sustained. Being raised a Catholic, and nurtured by Dad who believed to his core, made the early years safe. At this moment, I can feel the comfort of those years.
The process of maturing is on-going and isn't always accepting of early comfort.Reality crowds in and beliefs are challenged. Melinda's laughter is often one of those challenges. I am profoundly grateful.
Recently, my son, Dan, suggested I read Huston Smith's books on comparative religions as a way to continue my search. These are books that will require rereading. They are not for the casual moments.
What I do believe, and believe constantly despite dead ends in my search, is that it isn't enough to be part of tradition and community, though these are vital to human comfort. We do need to be part of something more than ourselves.
What a waste to attend a church service and walk out into a life that doesn't require more than the hour each week. Couldn't we feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the children, seek social justice, welcome those we see as 'different' IF religion meant the same as spiritual? Wouldn't those women and men who perform these works be joined by thousands more if religion required that we be part of something more?
No matter how many times I revisit my beliefs, I never find the end point. But searching is learning, and I think it is good to search.