I was raised in a faithless family. In my memories, which are few, it just was not a focus. I’m not saying it was a negative, its just where my parents and their parents ended up.
I have been a seeker since I was about 20 years old. My sister, for reasons beyond my understanding bought me the now legendary “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” I was into motorcycles, was quite gifted mechanically and loved to read. She took a guess. I don’t think she has ever bought anything like that for me before or since. I should ask her if she recalls her motivation for that. If she saw some latent spiritual seeker in her brother.
I was consumed by the narrative of the spiritual journey that the author described. My mind and heart were fertile ground for spirituality. I was searching for meaning, and have been for my whole life.
One of my vivid teenage memories is of having one of our very few heart to heart talks with my mother. She was curious about where I was at, since I rarely shared anything with them after about age 12. They were not a source of safety for me. Our family rarely shared emotions and my heart was particularly soft. To protect myself, I just shut down with them. My peer group became the only safe place, and even that was a false safety. It felt like I was telling her the most important wisdom in the world. At that age you think you know everything. “Life has no meaning, the only thing that matters is having fun in whatever way you find, all the time.”
Without knowing the power of my words, I had cursed myself, or if it suits better; I had installed a mental narrative at a vulnerable time in my life that would affect me for years to come. My twenties were fun, but empty. I had no goals, no dreams, no purpose. I self medicated with soft drugs, alcohol, friends, parties, girls, and more. To try to fill up, or numb the lack in my heart and soul.
I clung to the next thing, to save me, to give me purpose, to put a smile on my face, if only temporarily. I was clinically depressed and medicated for it. My thirties was much the same. I was single, decently employed, relatively attractive, but not a catch. I didn’t know myself and it was evident to these women. Socially, I craved quality relationships, but didn’t have much to give.
I got religion, I got Jesus, born again at age 40. Wow! I found myself desperate, broken, searching in a place that I never thought I would be found. A Church, Pentecostal to boot! This was faith, belief, community, connection, transformation, healing all in one simple prayer. I was ready to jump fully in!
It gave me purpose, helped me heal, “find my self” (Lol). The Church was everywhere as well. It was worldwide as I soon discovered. I found the courage to travel, to explore, to risk. I found the courage to invest myself fully no matter what the scoffers said. I did something(I did a lot of things) that I had wanted to do for a long time but lacked the courage. I quit the family business after 30 years and went to university to pursue pastoral leadership. I felt called to dive deep. It felt great to surrender and get out of my home town and start to really live. “Yes” became my mantra. Yes to life, to risk, to failure, to redemption, to relationship.
I am now married(first time, only time. To an amazing soul). I have five “step” children(first), seven step grandchildren a new career and purpose.
My belief looks nothing like it did on that day I was “born again” back in 2003. I do not run from doubt. It helps to form my belief journey. Its far from static. My heart of belief is not tied to church doctrine, or the inerrant, infallible “word of God”. It is tied to an energy, a purpose, a kind, forgiving, patient, redeeming, healing, Creator God. A God who is very familiar with humanity, who knows me inside and out intimately. He lives in all things, he aspires to inspire us to join the Journey to See, him, her, it, or rather Them.
They made us good. They invite us to participate in the healing journey taking place inside us, in our neighbour and in creation.
More to come….