It’s probably no surprise to most of you, but I am not a church-goer. Nor do I proclaim myself to be any particular religion. I could say it all began when a friend of mine died in college, and this would be true. But that was just the beginning of my questioning, my awakening to other possibilities.
My 23-year-old friend had died in a freak accident while on a dream vacation. Dream vacation. One he had planned for and talked about for probably months. So it goes, I suppose. I am beginning to feel that life is neither good or bad. Stuff just happens to both good and bad people. Tragic stuff.
I have been reliving the unfairness of a young person dying with their whole life ahead of them during the past few months since my cousin’s death. The shock still has not gone away on this one, and I am realizing that my grief is going to be more of a slow leak than a tidal wave. And that’s OK.
We sometimes move on quicker than we feel we should after someone dies anyway. I had this discussion with a dear friend who recently lost her sister. She was almost feeling guilty that after a couple of months she was not “steeped” in grief anymore, which I thought was such a perfect way to describe it. A look of relief had overcome her in this moment, and yet the relief was complicated and painful. Or so it seemed from my seat next to hers.
I had not intended on starting out this way at this late hour. However, I recently submitted a piece of writing that I have worked on all summer. It’s a creative nonfiction piece about my evolution with religion, Jesus, God, and so on. Ironically, I pray to Jesus, and I talk to God quite regularly. My life has had too many happy coincidences for me to disregard that a higher presence is out of the question. But I still like to remain open. I have chosen a life of believing in right and living justly and honestly, and this is the only religion that makes sense to me since it demands equality and humility.
But I am not sure it is so easy to sum up. I have had a number of experiences that make me sound like an insane person when I try to tell them. Let’s just say I have felt and seen things that logically don’t add up. That sound like someone’s mushroom trip instead of reality. Like the fireworks going off inside the lightning storm I witnessed tonight – surreal and otherworldly. Impossible and unexpected. Especially when it’s not even the Fourth of July.
I have so much more to say about recent events – on moving, on finding stillness. On letting go. On rediscovering old friends and family. But this is the end of my quiet sermon. Thankfully, others will come.