I guess you’re all on to me. I’m a bit of a spiritual junkie.
In keeping with my Journey through January theme- since let’s face it, January can be a rather dreary month to get through- I thought we could explore where we go to find light in this greyest of the grey months.
When I speak of light I am not referring to tropical sun-drenched getaways or changing the household lightbulbs over to the new energy efficient ones, I’m talking about light as in Spirit or God or whatever you like to call it/Him. I use both terms interchangeably and unapologetically.
For many people, this is a no-brainer. They go to church and find God there. They get up on Sunday morning, put on their church clothes and go listen to an inspiring sermon. Then they go for brunch. At least that is how it seems to me. For me though, church was never enough to keep me spiritually satisfied. I wanted to know him for myself. Much the way Elizabeth Gilbert reveals in Eat, Pray, Love:
I want God to play in my blood stream the way sunlight amuses itself on water.
When we were little girls my mother would take us to church in a neighboring small town. I remember sitting on the hard wooden pews of St. Mary’s in my shiny shoes and pretty but itchy dress listening to Father Beck address our congregation and wondering, But where is He?? Where is God? I just wasn’t feeling it. Sometimes though, if the timing was right the brilliant prairie sun would beam through the old window panes just so causing a twinkling effect, and I would think, There He is! There’s God!! Somebody let him in! No one ever did.
After church, when I was finally allowed to burst through the heavy wooden doors and out onto the cracked sidewalk, I would offer up a silent prayer of gratitude, Thank God! It was over.
Of course, as a little Catholic girl, I felt guilty about this.
Still, being both precocious and a daydreamer, I was determined to find Him. And I often did. He was outside. And inside. A little backstory:
The farm I grew up on was idyllic. It was my own Green Gables. Our crisp white farmhouse, complete with Kelly green shutters, was perched atop a gentle hill. Surrounding us were fields as far as the eye could see. The view from my bedroom included St. John’s, a tiny country church and historical landmark. I had a playhouse, a tree house and a big red barn. I had a tire swing in the summer and a skating pond in the winter. In the spring we could hear coyote pups practicing their howls. In the fall we would pack up the truck and take a hot supper out to my Dad who would be busy combining under the Harvest Moon. It was, as far as childhoods go, a very milk-and-cookies upbringing.
It was not uncommon for me to wade out in a rippling golden wheat field and gaze up at the unfathomably blue sky and think, He’s here! God is here now! But I was little and the world was big. I was still questioning it all.
Eventually I grew up, as we all must, but that childlike curiosity about Spirit never left me. I followed it wherever it took me and gathered glimpses of inspiration along the way. I practiced yoga and meditation well before it was a thing. I studied what I call Bathtub Buddhism. I attempted gardening (turns out I’m much better at keeping my kids alive). I did a bit of traveling. I fell in and out of love and had my heart broken once or twice. I even had a couple of dark nights of the soul where I cast my gaze heavenward and sobbed, “Why??”
What have I learned? What, as Oprah says, do I know for sure? That I do have Faith. That I do believe in something bigger. That I know, without question, that it will be okay. Most importantly, God doesn’t even care where you go to find Him as long as you show up. So if I find him alone in a rippling wheat field, reading Buddhism in the bathtub, meditating on the beach or even in the twinkle of my children’s eyes, it’s all good in His eyes.
What are the ways you find God or seek Spirit? Comment or send me a message privately. As always, I’m curious to know.
I’ve also included a lovely poem by Elizbeth Barrett Browning
OUT IN THE FIELDS WITH GOD
The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds that play,
Among the lowing of the herd,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.
The foolish fears of what might pass
I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay,
Among the hushing of the corn,
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born-
Out in the fields with God.
PS: Isn’t it romantic that my father, as a young man, wrote this poem on a piece of paper and gave it to my mother? In the 1970s??