I love National Public Radio. Our local station is WHRV, and I listen to it most of the time. I especially love Morning Edition and BBC Newshour. In fact I also love the Cathy Lewis show, and Fresh Air. Okay, I love it all. There have been many times I have sat in my car in the driveway, or in the parking lot at school, and been late just so I can listen to a program. All the while thinking, “just a few more minutes”. I like listening to public radio because I feel smarter when I do. I feel like I learn something new, or hear a different perspective than I had in my own head. I don’t always agree with everything I hear on the radio, but I always listen.
Recently I had one of those moments when I stayed in my car to listen to a program. It was very interesting, and I heard someone speaking about something I had thought many times but had not put voice to. I heard a story about Eric Weiner and a book he wrote called “Man Seeks God”.
He talked about how he went to the emergency room at a hospital with abdominal pains and a nurse whispered in his ear, “have you found your God yet?” Being a person who works in the medical field I do find it a bit odd that she would say such a thing to a patient, but it was a good thing because it caused Eric to embark upon a quest. A quest to find his God.
In his book he talks about his journey through Islam, and Buddhism, and Christianity, and Judaism. He talks about the things he found and what it meant to him.This whole topic hit really close to home for me. I mean, I am 49 already, and I struggle with the same thing. Have I found my God?
Have I found my God? That is an interesting question. I am 49 and still have not found my “God”…..do you struggle with this too?
I was raised Jewish, but we were a family who did not attend Temple. I did not have a Bat Mitzvah and cannot speak or read Hebrew. I do know the prayers and my parents always did the “big” holidays. We had a Passover Seder every year, and ate apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah. We fasted on Yom Kippur and had a dreidel box with presents in it at Hanukkah. It was next to the Christmas tree, but at least my parents taught me about my Jewish heritage.
When I became an adult I learned a lot about the Mormon faith from a roommate I had while I was stationed in Great Lakes. Then I learned a lot about Catholicism from a guy I dated. Then I married a man who was Church of Christ. While I really liked much of what I learned in the Christian church, I could never quite wrap my head around the “only Christians get to Heaven” part.
My parents were good people, but they did not believe in Jesus as their savior. Why did that make them unworthy? Why were only Christians the right ones? I never understood how they could be the only group that is “right”. To me it felt a bit elitist. And somehow wrong…… I just couldn’t ever believe in an “all loving”, omniscient being who would somehow “other” a group just because they didn’t worship him (it)….that just goes against every fiber of my being….
By the time I moved where I live now, my life was very different. I was divorced, had a female partner, and still had not found a religious home where I felt comfortable and like I belonged. I found a local Unitarian Universalist church, and after doing some research about what UU’s believed, we checked it out.
Unitarian Universalism is a welcoming faith, and I love almost everything about it, but even there, I had some reservations about some aspects of it.
I like some Buddhist beliefs, but can’t find my way to believe all of those either.
I have studied some Wiccan beliefs and find those very interesting and comfortable also. But it still isn’t a “perfect” fit for me.
And my family is not much help to me in this area either. Karol was raised Catholic, but says regarding religion she is “unsure”. My mother was raised Southern Baptist, but converted to Judaism before she married my Jewish father so we would be born Jewish. She now says she is an atheist. Our oldest son Brandon says he “doesn’t know”, what he is, the middle son, Zachary, says he is an atheist, and the youngest son The Genius says he is a “Jewnitarian”, (A Jewish Unitarian Universalist). So even my family is a hodge podge of religious beliefs.
So I guess there is no religion that fits me perfectly. I guess I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I don’t think “God” is a man, yet I don’t think “God” is a woman either. I don’t think of gender when I think of “God”, I usually think of the universe, or an ethereal being of some kind without a body shape, just spirit. As Eric puts it I seem to have found an “IKEA God.” “Some assembly required,” he says. “[The] idea is that you can cobble together your sort of own personal religion, a sort of mixed tape of God.”
I liked that. It made sense to me, and somehow seemed to put the religious puzzle pieces in my brain into a cohesive unit. So I have decided that it is okay to be eclectic when dealing with religion. That you can take the pieces you like and that make sense to you and add it to the other things that make sense to you and stir it all together to make a wonderful spiritual soup that is palatable and I can live with on a daily basis!