It’s been a while since I talked about my spiritual journey, which is a fancy way of saying I’ve been visiting different churches.
Although, I can’t really use the term ‘different‘ anymore. The past handful of times I’ve attended a service has been at the same Lutheran church. I am liking this place more and more. They really don’t seem to care who you are or where you are in life. I mean, they even had information for support groups on sexual addition in their bulletin. Additionally, there was a group for spouses of people who have sexual addictions. I’m not going to sit here and say watching porn is wrong, but if it is interfering with the intimacy of a relationship, it becomes a problem. Part of the description mentioned understanding who we are as “spiritual and sexual beings.” Those are only a few examples of what this place does. I’m am always so impressed at the services and support this church provides. They are really interested in following Jesus (as opposed to shoving the bible down people’s throats and condemning them to hell).
D came with me yesterday, as he usually does. While he was baptized Catholic, he didn’t have a childhood of church attendance like I did. Whatever service we attend, he rarely sings or even speaks the prayers with everyone. I sometimes mention this as I feel such actions help expand the feeling of community and spirituality.
As I was listening to the homily (that’s what it’s called right? Help a Catholic girl out?), I came upon a revelation in regard to D’s non-action. The pastor was speaking about baptize and how it erases all distinctions. I was really impressed, as he listed different political parties, sports teams and income levels. You come as democrat, republican, green party or tea party, but in baptism, you died with Christ. You are reborn as one with him and all distinctions are erased.
He went on to describe many types of ‘differences’ people tend to judge each other on. Addressing the act of baptism itself, he said people can get too caught up in the action. He told a story about a time he was at a church that did immersion baptism (putting the body completely under water). It just so happened that one of the men he was baptizing was quite tall with long limbs. He didn’t quite fit. When he was baptized, one of his elbows remained above the water. After the service, a parishioner came up and told him, “that baptism didn’t take.”
The pastor was a bit taken aback. He could see the man joyful and celebrating with his family. The moment was clearly profound for him. What did the method matter? That was his point. Whether you anoint a person on the head or completely immerse them, whether they have completely accepted God in their lives or they are just starting their spiritual journey, it doesn’t matter.
I glanced at D and thought about how terribly old-fashioned I was being. Wasn’t one of the (many) issues I had with Catholic dogma its tendency to go through the motions, valuing tradition over action? Here I was, a product of my childhood, trying to find a way to get D to follow the traditions I thought he should. That wasn’t my place. It’s not my place to push him along the spiritual path that I think he should be on.
It doesn’t matter.
If he finds more peace in listening or if he simply needs more time to open up, that is fine. That is his spiritual journey and I have no right to try and dictate where that should lead him.
Before I started this blog, D and I had tried out a few different religions. None of them really clicked and I started to feel like I was dragging him places. “Whatever you want,” he would tell me and follow me to whatever service I felt like going to that Sunday. Eventually, I got discouraged and stopped asking him to accompany me. Then, D started listening to the KLOVE radio station on his way to work. The music calmed him and made him happy. Even though he’s never been much of a church-goer, that radio station gave him hope during the common hustle and bustle of life. It wasn’t long before he brought up curiosity for looking at church services again.
I should have known it then, but it took me all this time. D is on his own, unique spiritual path. There are many facets of his life in which I play a huge role, but I have to let go control of this one. The relationship between one’s self and one’s spirituality is unique to them. It is not something that can be clearly explained to anyone else and it is not anyone’s place to dictate how that relationship to be.
When I feel like attending services, I will invite D along. Other than that, I’m going to try and stay out of his way. He is free to sing or stay silent, to speak or listen. This is his journey and I need to let him find his own way.