Depending on how long I've know people, this conversation is bound to come up. Am I religious? Spiritual? Did I go to Sunday School? Did I go to church on a regular basis? What does/did my family do? It's an interesting story, one that's not complete yet. I wouldn't say that I'm searching for a church or even a religion, for that matter, because for me, they go hand in hand. But I'd say that I'm spiritual in my own, private way. I try to be a good person and do the right thing. That sort of stuff.
My mom was a stained glass designer. She designed windows for private-home installations (privacy windows, decorative, etc). The most impressive, however, were the church windows. Built from scratch or restored, her play with color and light was always incredibly awe-inspiring and impressive. When these windows were done, naturally there was some sort of dedication ceremony and more than once, my parents took me with them. I never felt comfortable going, and could never explain why. To this day I couldn't give you a concrete reason, just that "It's not my thing."
My Dad's side is Catholic and from what I know, my Mom's side was Lutheran. I was baptized Catholic but never confirmed. This is something they, especially my Dad, always regretted, but as an adult I just wish I'd had the chance to attend Sunday School or a youth group, something to give a basis to grow on. Growing up, my parents said it's OK if you're not Catholic, you can be Jewish or Buddhist, it doesn't matter as long as it suits you. I always respected that decision and was grateful for the opportunity to go on my own, personal spiritual journey. Because like politics, spirituality is completely personal and it's not up to anyone but me to decide how I am going to pursue this path.
Matt is Lutheran/Buddhist. He prays, he medidates, but has been searching for peace, and he's found it at a new Lutheran church in North Hollywood. He joined the community officially last week, and is singing in the choir. It's been wonderful to see him connect with these people, to be part of a community separate from our friends and AFI. I have not joined, obviously, and before yesterday, had only attended services on Easter in April. When Matt decided to become a member of the church, I suddenly found myself in my Mom's position after Grandma Betty died. She passed in a horrible way, thank goodness it was quick. The trauma sent my Dad back to church soon after, where he started attending services more regularly. Mom didn't go often, probably every once in awhile to support him, and certainly when he asked her or was excited to for her to meet particular people. I think really he just wanted to show her off because she was so talented and wonderful. :) But I digress...I went to church yesterday with Matt for the same reason. I wanted to support him, and see/hear him sing again. He gets so much joy and comfort out of this community, there was a bounce in his step yesterday that's been missing for awhile. He and I both know that I won't go every week, but I will go once or twice a month to support him in what he's doing.
I do get something out of church in general, and this is the particular reason why I wanted do this post in the first place. The sermons always seem to speak to me in an incredibly personal way, and I know that's the whole point, but yesterday's sermon was eerily close. Dealing with death, depression, even suicidal thoughts. It was Holy Trinity Sunday, and her sermon was about each person's individual concept of God. It was fascninating. Even more interesting was after the service, when Pastor Sue invited me out to coffee or lunch, which generally she does only with those who are interested in becoming members (which I'm not). I do enjoy her company, however, and would welcome the opportunity to get to know her.
As far as being spiritual goes, I find the best way, for me, personally, is to try to live my life the best way I can. To stay positive, to be a good friend and family member. Being outside on a hike, or on a quiet beach, a sunny drive along the coast, dancing to good music, these are the times that I feel spiritual and connected to the world. I can't explain why or how, but when it happens, it's amazing and I hold onto that feeling for as long as I can.