When I was small, my mother chose my clothes, my haircut, my food, my likes and dislikes. I came to believe that these decisions were my own, and when it was time to actually choose these things on my own, I didn’t know how to discern. Therefore my mother’s beliefs, or my idea of them, became my own.
God lived in the church down the street and I had to go visit Him on weekends. I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn’t see Him there.
One day in Sunday school, I asked, “But why should we only do what Jesus says? Aren’t there other smart people to listen to?” One of the other kids started crying and told me I was going to Hell. From then on, I was the girl who was going to Hell.
I did my best to fit in, since my mom made me go every week and made me join the youth group. I did finally make a friend, a friend who eventually told me, “The God I believe in would not send you to Hell. You’re a good person, and He loves you. You haven’t done anything wrong.”
That was the first time I knew a glimpse of God. And I began my search to find more of Him.
I studied the beliefs of many different religions and discovered that they’re all good. They all have good ideas, even if I don’t agree with everything they say. I couldn’t make sense of having to choose just one and deny the rest.
I believe that God speaks to each of us in the voice that we can hear. Therefore, he speaks to each of us in a different way. We just have to learn how to listen.
I believe that it doesn’t matter what I call the being I pray to. Whether it’s God, the Universe, Allah, Brahma, The Father, The Creator, The Great One, or Jesus Mary Joseph, it’s all the same thing. It all refers to the source of what is great and good in this universe. And in all of us.
I believe that it’s OK to pick and choose from different spiritual belief systems, that you don’t have to be confined to the label of Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jew.
I believe that God lives in all the churches down the street, and in many other places, too. In the chanting of Buddhist monks and in the laughter of children. In the kind words of friends and in the din of cicadas in the summertime. In the silent cold of winter. In the joyful movements of my body when I dance and in the whisper of my own breath.
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