Friday, March 29, 2013

My Religion

I just realized that today is Good Friday and, my, how things have changed over the years. For the first quarter-century of my life I celebrated Easter like any other faithful Catholic - giving up something for Lent, going to mass on Good Friday, and then again early on Easter Sunday. When my siblings and I were young my mom would even dress us in proper Easter attire - my sister and I donning hats, white gloves, and dresses, and my brother in a long-sleeved collared shirt with a tie and ironed slacks. Now none of us go to church anymore - we've converted.

I don't call myself an atheist because I'm not a fan of labels and I don't want to be pigeonholed into other people's perceptions of what atheism means to them as opposed to what it might mean to me. Spiritual is another word I won't use to describe my beliefs because it connotes being an active participant, which I am not. My sense of religion is mostly based on accidental discoveries, moments which convey to me a deep sense of meaning but only after I've stumbled upon them - rarely do I actively search out those spiritual/religious moments consciously.

The more I think about it the more I feel that my religion is based on nature - more secular than clerical. Specifically on the thoughts and feelings I have when I'm in the midst of nature: when I'm walking along the shore alone and happen upon a bird on a branch or a bright flower hidden among the weeds; when my feet are buried under warm sand as I watch Chris surf (which, I believe, is his religion) while the sun sets behind him; the caterpillars I've seen lately on my morning walks with the dogs, busy eating plants I thought served no purpose. These are all moments that ease my tired mind and make me focus on the present, on the now.

No one dictates my religion and it's artifacts can't be bought. I don't pray to crucifixes or statues and I don't listen to a person interpret their religion for me . But if that's how you choose to pray and believe, that's completely fine with me, because my religion teaches me acceptance and humility across the board. There is no single symbol for my religion so this is what I think it looks like - and since it's embedded in nature it often both evolves and remains the same.

*My church
*Who hasn't found God in a sunset before?
*His altar
*The Clergy
*Footprints in the Sand
*An offering left by someone else, discovered by me
*A miracle of life
*How I worship
*How he worships
*The family that prays together
*My religion includes reptiles...
*And caterpillars
*And birds

Whatever your belief,  I hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend filled with love and good things - and make sure those feelings and actions are reciprocated, too.


Anonymous said...

All praise King Neptune! I'm looking forward to Sunday Mass again this weekend! Thank you for making your readers think in this post btw.

And, am I mistaken or does Bear have more than one chin in the blog banner?


Melissa Hallman said...

I love this particular post, and the pictures are so vivid. I too feel that I find God in nature. Sometimes it's so hard to remember and reflect on things when you live in the city. This entry is important and very profound.
I don't know yet what tomorrow holds for me, but I think if I could show people the way I wanted to live, now and in the future, I would have to show them you as an example. I want to travel more and get more dirt under my nails and paint and adopt more animals. Life is so precious and I try so hard to revere every day. Some days it's harder than others. I miss my cousins.
- Melissa

Ana Maria said...

Melissa, thank you for your sweet and thoughtful comment! I definitely agree that some days it's harder to remember how precious is, I need a constant reminder of that myself, which I find in writing. I miss you, too, and know that you are always welcome to visit us here and wherever we are!