Jen and the Art of Spiritual Maintenance

God made so many different kinds of people. Why would he allow only one way to serve him? ~ Martin Buber
I may have an issue: I cry at the oddest, and sometimes most inopportune moments. I always have. Mind you, it's not straight-out man-bawling... It's not the much maligned "ugly cry", but rather more of the don't-ask-me-to-talk-right-now-or-else-I-very-well-may-exhibit-the-ugly-man-cry. Silent weeping, if you will. And I'll never let on to the people who may be surrounding me at this, the time of my momentary dischord with glee.

Listening to Enya, Lisa Gerrard, Ingrid Michaelson songs; witnessing the wedding kiss; singing hymns; going on long walks in the snow at night; stopping for gas in the middle of nowhere at sunset; nostalgia for being a kid in Quincy at Christmas; remembering that my strong, brave grandfather just wanted to listen to classical music when he was sick; taking in the exact moment of birth, of anyone or anything; seeing those damn flashmob scenes at random malls, the entire last hour of "Titanic", the wheat scene in "Gladiator," and the ending of "Undercover Boss" (of which I only ever catch the last seven minutes and cry anyway, fully unaware of the whole story. What the hell is that all about? I mean... "Undercover Boss"??). All of these scenarios never, ever fail to leave me with a grapefruit sized lump in my throat.

And what's curious to me is how I embrace it all. I strangely don't mind crying. I suppose that's fine, because I certainly don't enjoy sadness... but I do yearn for emotion. This much I know is true.

So on a particularly cinematic day at the beach a month or so ago, I asked the bunnies for the thousandth time in as many days, while looking at the setting sun (and looking for mermaids, of course), "Do you know who made all of this?" AJ answered on his own, after years of me repeating the question and providing the answer, finally with no prodding or guidance from me: "Yes. God made this." And he smiled while taking it all in. This was a lump-in-the-throat moment for me. I asked both of them the other day who God is and Lila stated succinctly: "He is a very, very good guy, Mommy." (Working on the "She" possibility. That may take a bit more time.) But... was it simply repeating? It's not what they necessarily thought. It's what they heard me say throughout the years... It's OK. I'll take all of this at face value and wait to learn from them even more...

Now, I don't claim to be religious, though I appreciate and admire religion. All of them. There's beauty to be found in so, so many religions. I remember visiting different services at various churches in Poughkeepsie each Sunday as a part of youth group back when I was twelve... Unveiling the Torah at the synagogue (mysterious and wonderful); clapping, smiling, singing, and having so much damn fun at the Gospel church; figuring out that every Catholic church in the world was reading the same scripture on the very same day each week (Beautiful!); and listening to the gorgeous and amazing children's sermons and sweet music at our own church... these have all stuck with me throughout the years. And I want to chant and kneel in harmony with so, so many others at their different and beautiful places of religion. I have so much more to learn. It's all incredible to me. The God I know lives in all of these places, as S/he does in music, at the beach, and in my heart and soul.

And I'm wondering will u ever get yourself free
Is it bad to think U might like help from me?
Is there anything my little heart can do
To help religion share us with U?
~ Sinead O'Connor


Kelle said…
Love this. What do you say we find some Naples Unitarian church where you and I can walk in the door some Sunday, just as we are, and dance with the people to celebrate love? Yes. Also, I love how little A and L are in these photos. Thank you for sharing. xo

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