My friend, Larry, who is wise, recently wrote to me that “the most profound moments in our hectic lives can oftentimes come from the most unexpected and seemingly mundane places, like a simple field with some trees.” He was speaking of the times in his life when he most felt the presence of his “Creator.” It got me thinking about my own spirituality and awareness of a higher power.
My story begins with having been raised in a home that worshiped in a hell-fire and brimstone kind of Baptist church. I grew up believing in an angry God that would strike me down for the most innocuous failing, and that heaven was for only those few who managed not to color outside the lines dictated by the church. Needless to say, trying to come to terms as a teenager with my sexuality and a faith that condemned it was confusing, frightening and lonely.
The good news for me was that I was strong enough to choose love over an angry church. I turned my back on the faith that I had grown up with and been so influenced by in order to find my happiness. Notwithstanding, I felt empty no longer having faith in something bigger than me. The thing about faith is that it gives us comfort in an unpredictable world. It’s the assurance that everything will be okay no matter how bad things get.
There was also that troubling matter of having been indoctrinated with the notion that because I embraced my lesbianism, I was on a fast track to hell according the church that I grew up in. It wasn’t something that I cared to dwell on because I was busy working on being a decent person happy here on earth. So I decided to ignore it, and simply focus on living life to the fullest. I might as well get the most out of the here and now, if hell was my destiny.
That is the moment when I discovered my higher power, or in the words of my friend, Larry, I discovered my “Creator.” Simply put, I found my faith. It had always been with me. It’s far more powerful, resilient and true than anything that came from the church I grew up in. It has its genesis in the core of my being and makes me who I am. What I believe in is Mother Nature and the life she creates here on this amazing earth. Even my happiest memories as a child are those from when I was playing outside with the sun on my skin and the trees all around me.
There is so much beauty in the here and now. This life is my heaven and I embrace it fully. That’s why, just like Larry, I’m moved beyond words by a “simple field with some trees.” Life on this earth astounds, humbles and makes me grateful that I get to be here to experience all of its grandeur, as well as subtleties. I believe in the goodness of humanity, especially as we struggle through difficult times. I find my comfort and faith in things like the kindness of a fellow human being, that the sun always rises in the morning, being on top of a mountain and knowing that the life Mother Nature creates around us is resilient and sweet in its simplicity. I don’t need to wait until I die to find heaven. Heaven is all around me. That is my faith in a higher power. Peace.