I don’t write much on this blog about my personal spiritual exploration, simply because I don’t really do much of it. No time.
But since I’ve become a mom, I have given more thought to my spiritual and religious beliefs than I ever did during my self-involved 20s (when I actually had time for such things — oh well). There’s just something about the miracle of birth and life and motherhood that makes you think, “Surely there’s a higher power or being that’s making this happen?” Also, I didn’t want my kids to be the ones in school who are like “Jesus who?” or “What’s a Jew?” They should at least have some clue about their connection to a larger world/universe/spirit.
In the past couple of years, I’ve made a few attempts to find the right faith, church community, etc., only to be disappointed. I started thinking, maybe there’s just no place for me — a person turned off by most “organized religions” and pretty skeptical of anyone telling me their spiritual way is the only right way. I also wanted to make sure whatever I got involved with would be good for our kids, because I didn’t want to indoctrinate them with some BS religious beliefs that I personally felt were incongruous with our family’s values and moral code.
Then at the beginning of this year, I finally stumbled upon a liberal faith and a church community that really jived with our family: Unitarian Universalism. What a happy discovery! The people were so nice, genuine, intelligent and open-minded. I knew immediately this was my kind of church. The church itself was lovely, with lots of history and character. The community was active and full of opportunities for our participation. And overall, the church mission was one I could really get on board with:
Our urban Unitarian Universalist community celebrates and supports one another on our spiritual and ethical paths. We work for justice, dignity and respect for the web of life.
After attending Sunday services for a couple of months, and seeing how much our daughter enjoys her religious education classes while we’re in church, I signed up for the annual women’s retreat, which was this weekend. I’m so glad I did!
About 50 of us spent an entire day out in “the country,” getting to know each other, quietly reflecting on our inner goals and dreams, and celebrating life “in the moment.” We didn’t do much traditional “church stuff” as I have come to know it — no praying, reading the Bible or reflecting on the nature of sin/redemption — but instead did a lot of discussing, supporting, exploring and expressing ourselves. We even sang, danced and made some art. By the end of the long day, I felt more spiritually connected to my inner self and my fellow human beings than I have in a long time.
I realized that as busy as I am doing all my working-mom things, I owe it to myself to regularly spend a little quiet time on my spiritual self. It’s nourishing in a way that no other activity can be. And as I pursue the commitment of membership to this church, I intend to make our religious participation a family and personal priority. Amen to that, I say!