Friday, October 24, 2008

52 - A seeking soul...

So the above is a pic of me along the shores of Lake Michigan. DH and I usually do a fall trip to Traverse City to see the colors, but with the current economy (and the ivf bill), we decided to scale back and just do a day trip (spent the night with some friends on the drive back) to the other side of the state. It was beautiful and a nice time. The trees didn't care how much money we spent :-).

I felt pretty good this past weekend....upswing, possibly?

One thing (of the many things, of course) that this ivf experience has done is thrown me into a spiritual crisis of sorts. Through the years, I've dabbled/educated myself in a variety of religions. I've even shaved my head before spending 5 days at a silent Buddhist about learning about yourself. But nothing has stuck because I inevitably reach a point where I have a falling out with the humans/leaders involved, usually ignited by my disagreement about the dogma that is being taught...and my inability to keep my questioning at bay. The end result, ironically, is that I am a dedicated, tenacious seeker that really doesn't have a solid belief in anything. The level of depression I've experienced as a result of infertility has left me for a strong craving to have a more solidified belief of something outside of myself.

So once in awhile (like 3 or 4 times total in the last few years), I attend a First Congregational Church in town. It's beautiful...I find such peace when I am surrounded by beauty. I also like the pipe organ. I was a pianist/organist for a church in my teen years, and I feel like the hymns (although I sometimes have big problems with their words) are imprinted in my being. After my last attendance, I sent Rev. Bob a very candid email. I summarized 33 years of life in about one paragraph, told him about my lack of belief in anything, told him about the infertility, and told him that I was curious about what he would say to such a person. We had a face to face meeting this week. It was one of the most interesting conversations I've ever had.

He basically said that based on what I told him, it makes a lot of sense that I don't have a solid belief in something more. He assured me that I am much further on my spiritual path than I give myself credit for - that those who quit questioning quit growing, and I, obviously, am all about questioning. He also shared with me his own (and current) questioning, and that how he believes that a lot of what is taught (in all religions) is historically based and no longer serves a purpose in our scientific world. We talked about infertility treatments - he said he thought they were "a gift" and in no way does he believe in a God that hand picks people to have babies or not. Most importantly, he said something along the lines of that the only concept of "God" that is important is the one you personally have - whether it is an old guy in a white beard or a beautiful fall leaf or whatever or nothing. Amazing. I felt such space when he said that. He truly blew my mind away and challenged a lot of my stereotypes of dogmatic Christianity.

He also gave me this book called "A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying and How a New Faith is Being Born" by John Shelby Spong. He said that he would probably be judged by many as a "non-Christian" for giving me a book by this author. He also said that he didn't care if I ever came back to his church, but he would love to have another conversation with me when I finished the book. I agreed.

I think the most important thing I took from the conversation was that I need to have more confidence in the very special path that I am on (that we're all on). I'm confused. I ask a lot of questions. I'm a skeptic. So what? Why do I sometimes judge myself as "bad" or "strange" for these things? I need to instead learn to love myself for having the determination and courage to dig deep. Amen.


Not Your Aunt Bea said...

I don't have any enlightening words for you. Just thanks for sharing this post. I found it insightful and helpful to me.

Christi said...

so enlightening, thanks for sharing. I've found myself religionless as well being the Catholic church frowns upon IVF treatments, still not sure how I plan to handle that in the future...

DAVs said...

Amen indeed! It does take courage and determination to dig deeper and deeper, and being a constant seeker is awesome in my book.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the book, if you're inclined to sharing.

soapchick said...

Hi, just found your blog through Emily at Apron Strings. I'll have to read up on your entire blog, but this post was very interesting. I feel like I've also dabbled in a lot of religions including Wicca, although I'm a practicing Catholic - who has done IVF and is about to do a Donor Eggs cycle - way against the rules of my religion, but I don't care. I may have to check out that book as well - I'm always looking to learn and grow. I'll add your blog to my google reader and I look forward to your perspective on that book. Oh and I live in Michigan too - Oakland Township, and I'm a UM grad.

Emily (Apron Strings) said...

First of all, thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I always love it when I get to "meet" new people!

This is the first post I've read and I have this sense that you and I are very much in (or around) the same place on our journey. This whole post about Christianity was beautiful and just like you, I am constantly questioning, constantly angry and constantly feeling guilty for questioning the reasons why I've been put on this path. This Reverend sounds like he's a very compassionate man ... and even though I haven't met him, I already like him!

Looking forward to reading more and catching up on older posts.

Emily (Apron Strings) said...

Uh huh. Finally finished. You have a wonderful blog here, Christina. And honestly, what a great way to work through many of these crazy emotions that IF puts us through. Heck ... I can't even blame hormone drugs these days for my rants!

In any case, thanks again for visiting my blog and I really do look forward to reading more.